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Albert Brown helped spearhead the first WNY VegFest, which takes place Sunday in Delaware Park. He’s eaten vegan for 28 years but he envisions something bigger during the new festival, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Marcy Casino and the Rose Garden – and includes a 5K Tofurky Trot.

“It’s not just a vegan party for vegans,” said Brown, 48, of North Buffalo. “That’s not really interesting to us. We’re trying to reach out to our community and say, ‘Come have a good day, have a good time, bring your kids, eat some great food and maybe … learn a little bit more.” For more information and a fest schedule, visit wnyvegfest.com.

What foods do you most look forward to trying during VegFest?

Tofu Delights is coming all the way from Washington, D.C. I’m really amazed at this guy, Chef Jawanza Zulu, who wants to be here for his inaugural year. He’s got a reputation for making these amazing tofu dishes. He makes a jerk tofu. He makes curried and peanut and barbecued also, and he serves it with a warm spinach salad over brown rice. We also have our very own Rhonda Wells. Her debut is at the festival and her company is called Buffalo Plant Burgers. She makes a really nice comfort food of vegan macaroni and cheese with collard greens. I’m really excited about trying her food, as well. There’s several up-and-comers who are going to be at this festival.

For meat-eaters, what might be the most surprising veggie food that’s good for you and tastes great?

I’m a big fan of veggie lasagna and there’s about four different kinds you can make really well vegetarian. You won’t miss the meat at all.

– Scott Scanlon

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