Good music and the opportunity to hear advocates pitch the virtues of a diet without animal products drew thousands of visitors to WorldFest in Woodley Park here Sunday.
Actor and vegan Woody Harrelson welcomed the crowd and introduced keynote speaker John Robbins.
Robbins, author of "Diet for a New America," espoused the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Although vegetarians eat no meat, he explained, most eat animal products such as eggs and dairy. Vegans do not. More than 1,000 people listened to Robbins' hourlong talk.
Sunni Vandebeer of Santa Clarita was one of the many people checking out dozens of booths containing environmentally friendly products and messages.
"It's beautiful," she said. "Some people don't know about alternative ways of living. This way they get knowledge that vegan food tastes good and is totally good for you too."
Festival-goers shopped to the sounds of bands such as the Jazz Crusaders, Common Sense, Sonia Santos & the Brazil Band, and the Pegasus Project.
Businesses offered everything from Indian food to aromatherapy massages to henna tattoos. Children were entertained by clowns making balloon animals and vendors helping them plant tree seeds or tie-dye paper towels. At a pet-adoption booth, abandoned pets were matched with possible new owners.
The event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., was sponsored by Towards Freedom, a nonprofit group dedicated to educating people about vegetarianism and other "compassionate" choices.
Many visitors were vegetarians who heard about the event from their local health food market.
But Nelson Sawyer said he drove from downtown Los Angeles because the festival had a good range of music.
"I mainly came to see the Jazz Crusaders," said Sawyer, sitting in a lawn chair in the shade. "I've been a fan for 30 years and I've seen them live before. But take Common Sense--I've never heard them before."