Being a vegetarian can be hard, thankless work—extended family members rarely understand, many restaurants don't accommodate you, and cows still try to devour you every chance they get. Today's Groupon proves that green eating can be stylish, sexy, and delicious: for $5, you get one-day admission to the 2011 NOLA Veggie Fest, held May 21 and 22 at the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center (up to a $10 value). Tickets for children 12 and under cost $5 at the door, and children under 2 are admitted for free.
Veggie Fest is the city's premier event for herbivorous inhabitants, featuring food, two cooking demos by a vegan chef, live music, and guest speakers espousing a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle, as well as more than 50 vendors distributing samples and products. With a one-day pass, join gathered green eaters and animal lovers for an exchange of ideas and information regarding the benefits of a plant-focused subsistence, such as better health and an immunity to starvation. Visitors can lend ears to muscle maven Robert Cheeke, founder of Vegan Body Building and Fitness, as he presents his vegetable-based nutrition platform (Saturday, 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.) or watch author, professional chef, and world traveler Alan Roettinger give culinary exhibitions (Saturday, 12:30 p.m–1:30 p.m., and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.) that delve into the art of spicing up a noncarnivorous kitchen. Sunday talks by doctors John J. Pippin (11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.) and Vesanto Melina (1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.) bring the wisdom of medical professionals to the discussion of vegetarianism and veganism, presenting nutritional facts and raising awareness for various ethical concerns.
Musical performances from bands such as Country Fried and Sweet Jones serenade attendees toward the end of each day, and entertainment from Pandorium Belly Dance Troupe lets legume consumers enjoy stomach manipulations while their own stomachs lunch on some festival food. Now in its third year, NOLA Veggie Fest raises funds for the Humane Society of Louisiana, which cares for needy animal friends with lots of love and a sizeable allowance.