Headlined by a roster of professional athletes and highly credentialed physicians, the sixth annual New York City Vegetarian Food Festival (@NYCVegFoodFest) will go down again Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. This family friendly event includes a special area devoted to children’s arts and crafts activities. There will also be performances by a comedian, an illusionist and other entertainers.

A large part of the pavilion will be devoted to vegan vendors, many of whom will be offering free food samples to attendees. Nonprofit organizations will also staff tables with literature about their activities. This year’s charity partner is Mercy For Animals, which will receive proceeds from the festival raffle.

The festival will feature speakers on a variety of topics, such as animal advocacy, vegan cooking techniques, medical research into the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle and motivational tips from professional athletes. Professional boxer Omowale Adewale became a vegetarian when he was 15 and vegan after becoming a Super Middleweight Champion in the Brooklyn Brawl. He now coaches others on how to box and how to go vegan.

Festival co-founder and organizer Sarah Gross said the medical emphasis at this year’s event is because of the mountain of evidence that a vegan diet is ideal for one’s health. “We energetic vegans have known this in our bones for quite awhile, but it’s nice to be validated by the medical community,” she said.

For more information about the festival and to purchase tickets, visit www.nycvegfoodfest.com.