Becky Mikles

Becky Mikles

Posted July 13, 2011

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37th Annual NAVS Vegetarian Summerfest

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There are many advantages (and some disadvantages) of living and traveling full time in an RV, but one definite plus is the freedom to be anywhere in the country, in your own home, and in fairly short order. When our plans this year put us on the east coast in July, my husband and I decided we would take advantage of our proximity to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and register for the 37th annual NAVS Vegetarian Summerfest.  This was our second Summerfest experience, having attended the first time in 2009.

With so much going on during this 5-day event, it is possible to be busy from the wee hours of the morning to well after midnight, attending extensive educational sessions, going to food preparation demonstrations, exercising, stargazing, taking nature walks, meeting people, watching film screenings, meeting authors, browsing the book store and vendor booths, swimming, and socializing at the after-hours get togethers. The problem is trying to figure out what you want to do the most, as it is impossible to do everything.

Even though I consider myself a convinced and committed vegan, I also know that living in a world where most people aren't, and really don't get why anyone is, it is important to take advantage of opportunities like Summerfest. Here you get the much needed bonding with like minded people; learn the latest in scientific research; discover what's new in the animal rights arena; and come away with a renewed commitment for better health and a deeper understanding of how our food choices not only impact our health, but so too the animals, the oceans, the forests, our air, our water.

My experience only represents a fraction of everything offered at Summerfest, but I left feeling empowered and optimistic about the future of the vegan movement.  It seems the scales are tipping; critical mass might truly be achieved, and maybe even in my lifetime.  I learned that more and more, we are realizing that compassion for animals must extend to all animals, including other people.  I also learned I need to take better care of my colon, go organic, and like Mom always said - eat my greens!  Where else can you go and have all these essential lessons wrapped up in one great package?