The fifth annual Rehoboth VegFest takes place this month, but plant-based options are becoming more widespread all year long

By Pam George  |  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the June 2017 issue

june-culinary-coastWhen Deb Griffin was 10 years old, she stopped eating meat and seafood. A teacher who’d become a father figure to her was a vegetarian, and Deb decided that she would become one, too. She went home to tell her mother and stepfather. “Of course they had a fit,” she recalls. “It wasn’t even hippie-cool back then. But I was determined, and that was that.”

To counter their concerns, the precocious elementary school student read up on the benefits of being a vegetarian. “I learned a lot ... so that I had a response for every adult that thought I was crazy,” she recalls. “And I’ve not read anything since to change my mind.”

That was in 1964, and the Lewes resident now has plenty of company. For proof, witness the growth of the Rehoboth Beach VegFest, scheduled for June 9-11. Now in its fifth year, the event — which includes a free Saturday gathering at Epworth United Methodist Church — will have 100 vendors, up from 35 the first year. (VegFest does not keep a count of attendance.)

VegRehoboth, a local nonprofit out-reach organization, organizes the festival, along with ThanksLIVING in November. The group’s Meetup page (meetup.com/VegRehoboth) has more than 350 members.

Not all the members or event attendees are strictly vegan (who eat no animal products, including dairy) or vegetarian, says Tara Sheldon, president of VegRehoboth — who stopped eating meat at age 13 when she read about how calves are raised for veal. “It’s a great mixture,” she says of the participants. “Many of those who retired in this area are changing their diet for health reasons.”

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