Rehoboth Beach VegFest will offer a broad range of activities celebrating compassion and plant-based eating Friday to Sunday, June 8 to 10. The event includes roving musicians and an art exhibit at Gallery 50, showing new works every year. This year's art exhibit features the work of Leah Beach, a Delaware native who has traveled the world to photograph beauty and reality, and has expanded her choice of mediums into paint. The artist's reception is from 6 to 8 p.m., Saturday, June 9, at Gallery 50, 50 Wilmington Ave., downtown Rehoboth. Appetizers are generously donated by The Cultured Pearl. Musical accompaniment is by Reboboth Beach festival favorite Buntopia.
Beach is an artist, photographer and activist. She lives her activism through her lens and canvas. She photographs to make a difference, offering a look at people who don't have a voice: AIDS orphans, people struggling with dementia or hunger, gender-fluid people, and for Rehoboth VegFest, powerful paintings of 17 endangered animals. In bold, graphic colors with a startling immediacy, Beach shows the magnificence of these animals, their vulnerability to the ravages of humanity, and the tragedy of losing them forever. It's difficult to walk away without feeling a sense of awe and urgency for the plight of these sentient beings.
Beach is also a cofounder of the Dewey Artist Collaboration, and has been involved with Alzheimer's Disease International, Delaware Division of the Arts, and Global Vision International. She also designs logos and is available to design and hand-paint business signs.
Gallery 50, long a friend to VegRehoboth and the VegFest, opened in 2007. The gallery shows artworks from renowned and emerging artists who work in a variety of mediums. "It's always a delight to have the art reception on VegFest weekend," owner Ed McGann said. "VegFest brings the most interesting people to the gallery; Buntopia brings an exciting twist." The gallery also offers custom framing. "Seeing from the artist's eye and the consumer's gives us a keen appreciation for the perfect way to display our customers’ artwork," said McGann.
"Music is magic," says the duo known as Buntopia. Colleen Orozco, vocals, and Gary Loewenthal, guitar, travel the East Coast playing at fairs and festivals. They are passionate vegans who are committed to the welfare of the planet’s animals. Their style is energetic and accessible as they play music from across the decades: rock, blues, country, and more. Orozco particularly loves rabbits, hence the name Buntopia. She lives with several and works closely with rabbit rescue groups. Buntopia will perform Saturday, June 9, at Epworth United Methodist Church, and at the artist's reception that night as well.
Rehoboth Beach VegFest is the premier event of VegRehoboth. The festival day includes food vendors, artisans, rescue and environmental groups, and passionate, informed speakers. The Music Tent will include Buntopia, Kaleb Brown, Evangelina Guarjado, and Alex Razze. The Kids Tent will have activities all day with the Sussex Family YMCA, and the Healing Arts Village offers speakers and experiences about how to heal bodies naturally. Attendees can ride the Jolly Trolley free between VegFest and the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand all day long.
Founded by Patricia Haddock and now run by President Tara Sheldon, VegFest has become an intrinsic part of the summer season in Rehoboth. The weekend activities begin with a film showing of "What the Health” at 7 p.m., Friday, free and open to the public; tickets must be reserved for appetizers at 6 p.m. Rehoboth VegFest culminates with Sunday brunch at Fork + Flask @ Nage with chefs Hari Cameron and Sean Corea. Reservations can be made by calling Nage at 302-226-2037.
Other VegRehoboth activities include the ThanksLiving celebration held the Sunday before Thanksgiving, book club, happy hours, discussion groups, and a monthly vegan brunch at Fork + Flask @ Nage.
Rehoboth Beach VegFest sponsors include: CAMP Rehoboth, VegFund, Indigo, The Cultured Pearl, Gallery 50, Sussex Family YMCA, UUSD, Client Monster, and Signarama.