BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – In just under two weeks, from Sept. 20 – 22, the three-day-long  Vegan Fest will return to Berkeley Heights for its second year.  This event, co-produced by the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission (BHEC) and Sustainable Berkeley Heights, is free, open to vegans and non-vegans alike, and aimed at helping people better understand how mindfulness in shifting to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, combined with mindful exercise, can help promote a healthier life, as well as have a positive impact on the environment.

People of all ages will enjoy the three days of activities.  Thanks to the generosity of Gold Sponsors Brown & Brown and the Smith Chiropractic Foundation, as well as Silver Sponsors Embassy Suites and Taylor Rental, a limited number of event t-shirts will be available for free to attendees, on a first come, first served basis.  Plus, just for signing in and attending a particular activity, you could win fabulous prizes (see below; must be present to win).

The following is a day-by-day description of each day’s activities (all activities will occur in Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922):

Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Activity #1 – Yoga in The Grove Park
Friday, Sept.  20 @ 6 – 8 p.m.
The Grove Park, 200 Connell Drive (between Lifetime and the Embassy Suites Hotel)

Enjoy the outdoors at sunset with the soothing sound of a waterfall fountain in the background while certified yoga instructors LeeAnn Gerrato and Crystal Maldonado serve as your guides through two yoga sessions.  Unwind, relax your mind, and awaken your body as you experience the mind-body-spirit connection on the round dais in the beautifully landscaped Grove Park at the Connell Center.  No prior yoga experience is necessary.  Just wear comfortable exercise clothes, bring a beach towel and/or your yoga mat along with a cannister of water, and you’ll be all set.  

Activity #2 – Educational Panels and Children’s High Energy Dance
Saturday, Sept. 21 @ 10 a.m. - Noon
Lower Columbia Park, 411 Plainfield Ave. (behind Columbia Middle School)
(Rain Location:  Town Hall, 29 Park Ave.)

If you’ve ever wondered how shifting your eating habits to a more plant-based diet can improve your health and simultaneously assist in environmental preservation, then come to the “Health Focused” Educational panel at 10 a.m.  This panel features local experts, including a wellness expert from the YMCA and an oncology nutritionist from Summit Medical Group who will provide informative tips and will dispel common myths you may have heard about adopting a vegan diet.  Ask your questions and get answers from the experts!  

At 11 a.m., discuss with the “Planet Impacts Panel” the hard truth about why animal consumption results in adverse impacts on the national and global environment. This panel features professors, lawyers, and the president of NJveg.org.  Be part of the conversation by joining in the discussion of these issues, and helping to make a plan to take action together. 

Parents and grandparents, while you learn and interact with the panel faculty, your young children and grandchildren can enjoy the morning in Lower Columbia Park, too.  In addition to the park’s newly-installed playground equipment, Bold Arts Children’s Dance Company will be leading youngsters in a high-energy, creative dance session.  It should be lots of fun!

Activity #3 - Vegan Cook-Off
Sunday, Sept. 22 @ 1- 3 p.m.
Lower Columbia Park, 411 Plainfield Ave. (behind Columbia Middle School)
(Rain Location:  Town Hall, 29 Park Ave.)

If you’ve ever wanted to show your family, friends, and neighbors why your vegan dish is the best around, then the Vegan Cook-Off is perfect for you.  Enter your dish, and you could win trophies, prizes, and bragging rights!  First, second, and third place winners will be selected in  three categories - (1) appetizer, (2) main course, and (3) dessert.  Trophies and other prizes will be awarded to the top three winners in each category.  So that everyone can experience how delicious vegan food can be, Delicious Heights, Proud Thai, Devour Creative Catering, and Smoothie King of Summit will be providing free samples of vegan dishes and drinks.  Food items generously supplied by Trader Joe’s and Stop and Shop will also be available for sampling.  Plus, just for signing in and attending, you could win fabulous prizes (see below; must be present to win).

To ensure “ingredient compliance” with the General Guidelines below, those interested in submitting entries must pre-register and enter their dish (and its ingredients) in advance at bit.ly/BHVF2019. No “day of” entries will be accepted.

General Guidelines for Vegan Cook-off Entries – All dishes must be vegan. 

 • No Animal Parts or Things Made from Animals
Examples:  • Beef • Pork • Chicken • Turkey • Other Fowl of Any Kind • Fish • Shellfish • Broth, Stock, Bacon, Sausage, Burgers, or Hot Dogs made from any of the above items

 • No Dairy or Other Products from Animals
Examples: • Milk • Cheese • Non-Vegan Yogurt • Cream of Any Kind (Sour Cream, Heavy Cream, etc.) • Butter • Eggs • Lard

Examples of Gifts and Prizes from Our Sponsors

The BHEC and Sustainable Berkeley Heights thanks its Gold, Silver, and Bronze sponsors who have generously donated prizes and gifts that will be awarded throughout Vegan Fest and that have made this event possible:

Gold Sponsors: 

    •  Brown & Brown

    •  Smith Chiropractic Foundation

    •  Lifetime 

    •  Gabriele Fitness

Gifts and prizes include a 1-month free family membership, Parents Night Out tickets, gym bag, and other gifts (over $500 value) at Lifetime, and a free 30-Day Jump Start fitness membership ($500 value) at Gabriele Fitness.

Silver Sponsors:

     •   Embassy Suites

     •  YMCA 

     •  Taylor Rental 

Gifts and prizes include a 3-month free family membership at the YMCA in Berkeley Heights (approx. $400 value) and the free rental of a Moonwalk/Bouncy House (approx. $200 value).

Bronze Sponsors: 

      •  Anything Floral 

      •  Artist + Rebel  

     •  Bella Bella Nail Spa 

     •  Berkeley Car Wash 

     •  Berkeley Hardware & Paint  

     •  Blue Jasmine 

     •  Delicious Heights 

     •  Devour Creative Catering 

      • DiMaio Cuchina 

      •  European Wax Center 

      • The Fountain of Youth Spa 

      • New Polished Nails 

      • NJ Veg 

      • Proud Thai 

      • Rita’s 

      • Skin Deep 

     •  Smoothie King of Summit 

     •  Stephanie Skidmore for Mary Kay Cosmetics  

     • Stop and Shop 

     • Sublime 

     • Trader Joe’s of Millburn 

Gifts and prizes include a portable gas grill and tool set, a free full-body massage and facial, dinner for two, manicures, as well as gift baskets, gift certificates, and gift cards for a variety of other products and services. 

For additional information, FAQs, directions to events, rain date information, and other helpful facts, please visit the event websites, at: 
www.berkeleyheights.gov/387/Vegan-Fest AND
www.SustainableBH.org