The 10th annual Dearborn Women's Expo will be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. tomorrow in the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan (at Greenfield Road).
The event, which advertises itself as the biggest and busiest expo in the Downriver area, invites women this Sunday to “grab your best friends and come for a fun day!” Admission is $3 with free parking. There will be 103 exhibiting booths at this year's expo, including Costco, Westborn Electric, and returning exhibitor Henry Ford Health System.
“That'll show some of the diversity of who we have, basically,” said Julie Sullivan, promoter of the event she created with her sister-in-law. “The event does attract a lot of home décor, implement improvement, and that type of thing; because women usually schedule the appointment and they sift through all the different bids or costings, so women do tend to be the major decision maker of the house traditionally.”
Over the years; she said; booths that have been the busiest with long lines tend to have food, home décor and fashion, “those fun things that are the most attractive to the attendees.” Another exhibitor Sullivan said is usually busy is Henry Ford, which provides health screenings such as blood-pressure.
A repeat vendor, LaFontaine Automotive Group, has just opened a VW dealership (quickly put up at a site on Telegraph, where a bowling alley was torn down). LaFontaine will be bringing in a VW Bug to promote that new dealership.
“So they're bringing in a bug, so that'll be fun,” Sullivan said. “People like cars, they like to sit in a car and all that stuff.”
One new exhibitor this year, Traffic Jam Boutique, will also be putting on a fashion show. The stage entertainment for the March 3 Women's Expo will start at noon with Elements of Exercise, which will perform TRX fitness and “Piloxing” (which Sullivan explained is a combination of pilates and boxing).
“They will still do ZUMBA,” she added.
After the fashion show at 1 p.m. on stage, LoseYourExcuseNow.com will be speaking on stage at 2 p.m. The latter will be talking “about getting rid of the negativity, the stuff in your head that holds you back.”
Sponsor Comcast will be passing out guest bags to the first 250 guests who come in the door. The big anchor sponsors for the expo, DTE and Henry Ford Community College, also have exhibitor booths (HFCC will be manning an admissions booth). Other emerald sponsors for the expo are the Body Mind Spirit Guide, Natural Awakenings, My Metro You Magazine and Giesken Outdoor Advertising (which put up a billboard for the expo next to Red Lobster on Telegraph, south of Warren Avenue); and Park Place is the lunch vendor for all the exhibitors.
Besides the exhibitors and stage entertainment; the Women's Expo also features a duck pond for prizes, silent auctions, and 50-50 raffles. From the “pond,” attendees can pull a duck for $5, and the number on the bottom of the duck corresponds to an unmarked paper bag.
What is in the bags, Sullivan revealed, are different gift ideas geared toward women: beauty products, electronics, jewelry, and other things worth at least $5. Since many women bring their children to the expo, there are also $5 duck ponds for kids as well, one pond for little boys, and the other pond for little girls.
The silent auction will be for more than 100 items for the show; she said; running the gamut from donations by the Detroit Red Wings, overnight stays with lunch and dinner donated by a hotel, a photography sitting, much pre-made food like chocolates donated by a couple bakeries, fitness packages, nutrition packages, pampering health and beauty packages, handbags, home décor like candles and warmers, “a lot of different things are going into the silent auction.”
Since the 50-50 raffles are “very popular,” Sullivan said that four will be run throughout the day. All the raffles, the silent auction, the duck pond, and admission, “all that stuff on that day raises money” goes 100 percent to the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, she said. The expo raised $4,000 last year.
“Of course we're hoping to do much better this year, but we shall see,” Sullivan said. “That's one thing that you just never know.”
The Women's Expo is done in the memory of Sullivan's niece, Brittany Crawford, who died at age 16 of leukemia on Dec. 1, 2002. She was a junior playing field hockey for Dearborn High School, a “very active” volunteer for Oakwood Healthcare, and the previous summer had a paid position with the city's summertime child-care facilities (as preparation for her goal of becoming a teacher someday).
For more information on the Expo, please visit www.showforwomen.com.