For the 17th year, thousands of vegetarians will come together and celebrate their meatless diets at the annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival.

The free two-day event, which runs Saturday and Sunday at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, is expected to attract upwards of 25,000 people, all looking for some free sample and a few lessons from vegetarian chefs and authors.

"It's a tremendous 'bringing together' of natural vegetarian foods, top national experts and world class chefs," said Evelyn Kimber, one of the festival organizers, who said vegetarianism has swept the city in recent years.

"We are very rich in plant based offerings in the Boston-area," she said. "It is certainly more vegetarian friendly that it was decades back. Now we have a long list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants that are exclusively committed to not selling meat, fish or poultry."


This weekend's food fest will highlight what organizers call a wide variety of vegetarian foods and products.

Guests will be able to sample free natural vegetarian foods and buy some products at discount prices, Kimber said. There will also be a lineup of top national speakers and chefs showing off cooking tips and techniques.

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