Last June’s inaugural Planet Bethesda festival drew more than 2,500 people, served plant-based food and prompted more than 100 attendees to commit to no-meat days, according to organizers. The festival is slated to return next month with more food, music, celebration and persuasion on the vegan lifestyle.
The fest is slated from noon to 6 p.m. June 4 at Elm Street Urban Park, 4600 Elm St., Chevy Chase. The first 1,500 attendees will receive a free tote filled with goodies including Purely Elizabeth granola, lip balm, peanuts, vegan yogurt and coupons for other vegan products, according to organizers.
The event will include food from around the world, a pie-eating contest, a beer garden and a kids’ corner. Bethesda Curry Kitchen, Red Bandana Bakery, True Food Kitchen, Eat the Change, Berries & Bowls and Dog Haus will be selling vegan fare.
Kids can participate in face painting, henna tattoos and an earth science show, according to Lisa DeCrescente, director of special projects of FARM: Farm Animal Rights Movement, a national nonprofit that advocates for animal rights and veganism.
The event is presented by FARM and by Sustainable Earth Eating, a Bethesda-based nonprofit organization that raises awareness of how food choices impact the planet’s climate; and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which says it aims to save and improve human and animal lives through plant-based diets and ethical and effective scientific research.
A canine courtyard hosted by Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will provide free treats, toys and water.
Leaders of various animal and environmental advocacy organizations and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Takoma Park Democrat, will speak on the main stage, according to organizers.
Giveaways are set to include a $600 composter, a $500 summer basket filled with personal care and hygiene products, and a gift certificate for dinner for two at DC Vegan.
“One of the things I’m passionate about is growing the [vegan] movement,” said DeCrescente. “I think it’s important to stay in touch with the community as is and keep them engaged and inspired. But we need to be talking outside of the bubble. We need to be educating people who are not vegan, not a part of the movement.”
An important goal is signing up omnivores who attend the festival to promise not to eat meat at least one day a week. Last year, about 130 people signed the pledge to cut meat out of their diet one day a week, according to DeCresente.
Education is another big part of Planet Bethesda. A plant-based nutritionist will be on hand to answer questions about a vegan diet.
“That always makes us happy to think we’re leading people toward a plant-based future,” said Jane DeMarines, executive director of Sustainable Earth Eating.