Organized by Compassion Over Killing

We’re still confirming our speaker list and schedule, so stay tuned –

and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates!

Main Stage

Lighter - Alexis Fox & Micah Risk

Cooking Demonstration

Lighter Co-Founder Alexis Fox and Lighter Nutritionist Micah Risk are joyfully revolutionizing the way we think about our relationship to food. Lighter is a nutrition company that makes healthy eating habits stick. Their mission is to empower eaters to resist a culture of consumption and challenge the standard American Diet (SAD). Join this cooking demonstration and discussion to find out how we can transform from the inside out to secure a better life for ourselves, our families, our community and the world. Online at

Dr. Betty Smith

Aging Agelessly: Running Long Distances Powered by Plants

Dr. Betty Smith is a 73 year-old ultra-marathon runner who has run on all seven continents and who recently completed 100 miles in a 72-hour race. She holds age group records for females, 70 to 74 years old for the 48 hour road ultra-marathon and the 6 day road ultra-marathon. Dr. Smith has spent the last 40 years researching and implementing healthier eating and exercise habits — she defies her age and what it means to be 73, attributing much of her athletic success to her 100% plant-based diet. She is truly an inspiration!

John Schlimm

DC VegFest Emcee

Named one of the “Vegan Men We Love” by VegNews magazine, John Schlimm is an activist, artist, educator, and international award-winning cookbook author (The Cheesy Vegan, Grilling Vegan Style, and The Tipsy Vegan). He also recently debuted pieces from his new The Book of Compassion art series, including his flagship 34 COMPASSION Paintings and the participatory THE SMILE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (is yours). The son of a former butcher, John came out on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a pro-meatless, pro-vegetable loving foodie, expressing the sentiment that “no living being, human or animal, should ever go through this life unloved.” John’s cookbooks and appearances have been critically acclaimed and heralded by the media, including The New York Times. John has a Master’s in Education from Harvard University and has authored 16 books.

Kid’s Area

Lesley Parker-Rollins

Ask A Vegan Mom

A mother to three children raised vegan from birth, Lesley has been vegan herself for nearly 15 years. She married her husband, Ray, in 2000 and by early 2001, he was vegan as well! Their first child Tyler was born shortly thereafter, and they went on to have Will in 2003 and Maya in 2007. Raising children vegan was never a question for Lesley and Ray. Between their ethics and compassion for animals, the health benefits of being vegan, and concern and respect for the environment, it made sense that they would instill those values in their children as best they could. Besides being a stay-at-home parent, Lesley enjoys volunteering for many animal rights organizations as much as possible to help create a kinder, more peaceful vegan world.

Music Tent

Steven Gellman

Musician and animal advocate

Steven Gellman has been performing his slice-of-life lyrics to audiences across the United States since the mid-90s. Described by Billboard Magazine as “intensely sensitive and impressively intelligent,” Gellman’s songwriting captures the simple moments of everyday life and wraps them in notes that will have you humming along – long after the song is over. On stage, Gellman combines friendly banter with a sonorous, tenor voice that critics have compared to the late John Denver.


Musicians and animal advocates

Buntopia is a two-person band featuring Colleen Orozco (vocals) and Gary Loewenthal (guitar). They play a wide range of music from rock to blues to jazz – currents and classics — as well as many originals. Colleen, who’s been singing since age 4, says “Music comes from the heart, where our most profound feelings live. Great songs are in every genre, but they all have deep emotion in common.” When she is not singing or cooking up a vegan storm, Colleen is an enthusiastic gardener and backyard birder. Gary is founder of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale, co-founder of Compassion for Animals, the author of several magazine articles on animal advocacy, and a long-time grassroots vegan activist. He’s been a professional performing and recording musician for over 40 years. Colleen and Gary both live with rescued rabbits, hence the duo’s nickname. Buntopia made its debut at the Rehoboth VegFest, where they were a big hit.

DC VegFest is organized by Compassion Over Killing, a DC-based non-profit charity. Your support is needed to help this event grow even more. Please donate now.