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Dearborn Women's Expo's 11th annual fun day at Hubbard Ballroom this weekend

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There will be 103 exhibitors coming to the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center this weekend to offer something for everyone at the 11th Annual Dearborn Women's Expo.

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The Dearborn Women's Expo will be inviting people to bring their friends for a Sunday Funday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the center at 15801 Michigan Ave. (at Greenfield in Dearborn). The owner of the expo, JMS Productions and My Mitten owner Julie Sullivan, believes that with the severe housing slump of recent years people are now looking more toward upgrading their existing domiciles with home improvements.

“And in addition, it's really been a cold winter, people have been cooped up, so I think just coming out and getting some home improvement ideas will be fun,” Sullivan said. “We've never had this many vendors been businesses geared toward home improvements before, so that'll be interesting to see how they do, because they're really excited about the notion of exhibiting, so hopefully it will be a good experience for them.

“There's quite a bit of ideas that people can get,” she said.

The additional exhibitors devoted to home improvements cited by Sullivan include DTE Home Energy, Jabro Carpet One, White's Furniture and Erie Construction Midwest, and she added that Renewal by Anderson will be returning as well this year. Other exhibitors presenting “fun things” at this year's show, Sullivan said, are Doll's Cookie Basket and Paul's Gourmet Jerky.

“We've never had a jerky person before, so that'll be fun,” she commented.

Also having booths will be Lady Mechanic.com, attorneys KF Legal Consultants, and Natural Awakenings; which are all sponsoring the expo. There will be no food served at the event, Sullivan said, because none of the center's preferred caterers have chosen to take a table at the expo.

Activity will start on stage at 11:30 a.m. with Dr. Rana Sabbagh, whom Sullivan believes will be speaking on the GastroCenter of Michigan and all the new services they are offering. The clinic opened in January in the Park Lane Towers in Dearborn, she said.

Zumba will be done on the stage by Elements of Exercise at noon. The main studio of Elements of Exercise is located at Telegraph and Oxford, just past the LaFontaine dealerships; she said; and offers classes at other various places in the area.

Traffic Jam Boutique from Wyandotte will do a 1 p.m. fashion show, centering on fashions “for proms, for destination weddings, 'After 5' events.” Following on stage at 2 p.m. will be the presentation, “2014 is Your Year to Lose the Weight and Feel Great!”

“So they'll be talking about obvious ways to lose weight, healthy, and they should have some good information,” Sullivan said.

The expo will also hold a silent auction, 50/50 raffles and a duck pond to raise money for the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. More than 100 items can be won as prizes, Sullivan said, including: paintings, spa packages, hotels, bowling, theater, Red Wings memorabilia, massages, and entertainment packages.

The expo raises money for the foundation in memory of Sullivan's niece, a senior at Dearborn High School. “CLF helped our family while Brittany was ill, so we raise money for them so they can help other families,” she said.

The Children's Leukemia Foundation provides services to 4,500 families in Michigan, according to Sullivan. She said the services that the foundation needs money for could include: getting patients to treatment, providing holiday gifts for patients and their families, getting a wig, paying the family's rent, obtaining medication, giving family support--”just a few of the services they offer, and of course that all costs money.”

In turn, the statewide organization can promote the expo regionwide, and its 501.3c status allows the foundation to pull the raffle license for the event. The expo has drawn foot traffic between 2,000-2,500 people, it has been estimated for the last three years.

“They're coming throughout the whole day,” Sullivan said. “People are still coming in in the late afternoon.

“People know that we're there, it's always the first Sunday in March, it's a great landmark location in Dearborn. It's gaining in popularity, people can't get down the aisles, last year we had a huge lineup waiting to get in, so there's no point in stopping it at this point,” she said.

Though there are challenges with accommodating the thousands coming in, Sullivan admitted, the expo has fought moving its location because the price for booth space would go up. Neither is adding another day contemplated, she said, because that would double the price for the booth, as well make it difficult for small independent store owners (like the one putting on the fashion show) to close their businesses two days to accommodate the expo. It could expand into the theater lobby and Studio A, she said, but a conflicting event at the theater could make this difficult, and the vendors prefer to stay in the same room anyway.

The $3 dollar admission is strictly at the door, with parking and admission for children age 12 and under being free (anyone bringing in a post card or ad they were sent on the show will get $1 off for admission). The first 250 people that come through the door will each receive a shopping bag filled with goodies.

For more information on the event, visit ShowForWomen.com.

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