In April, The Hen's Roost will host a Vegan Festival and Earth Day Celebration. But if you can't wait to get your plant-based powwow on, it's time to hit the road for the Central Coast VegFest on Feb. 23. 

This is the second year for the family-friendly festival, which will feature cooking demonstrations, food samples, expert speakers and food and merchandise vendors. 

Jenny B. Jones, one of the event organizers, told On the 101 news website last year that the event was a celebration of veganism "for the 'HECK' of it — Health, Environment, Conscience, and Kindness," with the idea being it was open to all including vegans, veg-curious and skeptics.

Speaking at the festival throughout the day are Chef Babette, a vegan comfort food specialist with a national following; vegan chef and author Jason Wrobel; journalist/author Jane Velez-Mitchell; Bill Muir, Sgt. Vegan; Paige Parsons Roache, aka VeganRamaMama; Cal Poly SLO philosophy professor Joe Lynch; Stephanie Bosco, the Superfood Goddess; UCLA environmental studies professor Jenny Jay; and vegan cookbook author Beth Love.

The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church, 1515 Fredericks St., near the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo. Admission is free. For more information, visit ccvegfest.org.

Bakersfield will dip its own toes into the vegan festivities with its event being planned for April 20. 

Hen's Roost operator Jaclyn Allen said a number of musical acts have already approached her to be included in the event that will also celebrate Earth Day. She's excited to be organizing the event with with food, music and vendors that she said will tentatively will take place in the afternoon that Saturday.

"I’ll say yes to everything probably once," she said.

In other vegan news

Fast-casual pizza maker Pieology is standing out from the pack with its new “meat” toppings made of high-quality plant proteins.

The trio of toppings — "spicy Italian sausage rounds,” “beef meatball” and “diced chicken” — look like the real deal but are vegan, non-GMO verified, contain no cholesterol or soluble fats, and are packed with protein. The premium plant-base toppings are an additional $1 and available at the two Bakersfield Pieology locations as well as the one at Tejon Ranch in Arvin.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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