In Photos: Gainesville Celebrates Sustainable Lifestyles At VegFest


Families, vendors, activists, animal lovers and vegan food enthusiasts gathered Saturday at Gainesville’s first VegFest.

The event took place at Westside Park and featured live music, food trucks and stations, locally grown produce, arts and crafts, independent vendors and animal rescue and adoption agents.

Sean Gloria, director of development at Solutionary Species, an educational organization based in St. Petersburg, said his goal in helping to organize events like VegFest is to raise awareness about the benefits and long-lasting effects of plant-based diets on the environment, human health and animal welfare.

“We have the philosophy that humans have found a way to, kind of on accident, be a problematic species,” he said. “We focus on finding solutions for what we call the big three: humans, animals and the environment.”

Gloria said he thinks VegFest will benefit the Gainesville community.

“With the speakers and the vendors we bring in, it’s nothing but positive information and people looking to make a difference,” he said.

Guests line up in front of a Latin American fusion food truck at VegFest on Saturday. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)


Chris Bermudez lets his dog, Kali, greet a passerby. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)


Chris Bermudez sits on the lawn to enjoy the weather and live music with his dog, Kali. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)


Tracie Wallace walks Athena, a goat among the animals living at CJ Acres Animal Rescue Farm. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)


Karan Newman laughs at the table where she sells animal ornaments made of wood and coconuts. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)


Musical duo Gosia and Ali perform acoustic music for VegFest’s guests. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)


Melody Jackson, 4, plays with bubbles at a children’s entertainment stand. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)


Sean Gloria of Solutionary Species speaks to an audience as one of VegFest’s masters of ceremony. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)


Mark Kleese, Jett Nieves and John Nieves watch Nieves as he shows his skills on a slackline. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)


John Nieves balances on a slackline. (Diana Illingworth/WUFT News)

About Diana Illingworth

Diana Illingworth is a reporter for WUFT News. She be reached at 352-392-6397 or

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