An estimated 15,000 people endured the brutal cold and rain at the Navy Yard for the district’s 18th annual DCVegfest. Started in 1997, DCVegfest is an event organized by Compassion Over Killing to promote vegetarian and vegan living as well as animals rights in the district.

The event hosted over 30 nonprofit and over 50 commercial vendors. Many of the commercial vendors were restaurants which made the festival a myriad of chefs, many of which with samples of their vegetarian friendly concoctions. “The DCVegFest provided a really easy audience for us animal rights advocates, if you’re showing up then you are already committed to our cause,” Katherine Walker of Alley Cat Allies (a stray cat nonprofit) said.

At the main stage there were many speakers as well as musicians performing with the main attraction being David Carter. David Carter is an former defensive lineman for the Arizona Cardinals who became vegan and started a vegan advocacy organization called The 300 Pound Vegan. He spoke to the crowd about how “you don’t need to end a life to gain muscle,” and spoke in great detail about the high-protein, but still all veggie, options.

After Carter spoke, DJ Cavem and Alkemia Earth took the stage to share their “culinary concert”. Cavem and Earth, a husband-wife team that calls themselves OGs (Organic Gardeners) and uses hip hop as a platform to communicate with hit songs titled, “Wheat Grass” and “Let it Grow.”

Some of the big restaurant vendors included Amsterdam Falafel Shop, South Block Co. and the Bake Shop (both based in Clarendon) advertising their vegetarian and vegan friendly menus.

Compassion Over Killing encouraged people to sign up for their volunteer opportunities to stand up for animal rights by encouraging people to join their email to stay in touch with events. “I would definitely recommend someone interested to get online and look at all the opportunities this community has for them,” Walker said.

The event ended with closing remarks about the mission of vegetarians and thanks to everyone who came out to support. Walker said, “Whenever you know you are making a change, it is really rewarding.”