West Michigan Women's Expo opens today

Women's Expo Preview

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The West Michigan Women’s Expo returns to Grand Rapids for its 19th year today, giving women an opportunity to bring together their best girls for a weekend that will inspire their personal style and spark passion for their lifestyle.

The 2017 Expo is is taking place March 10 through 12 at the DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.

This year’s lineup features products, services and seminars that aim to provide a weekend of enjoyment and education for women of all ages. Whatever interests you have, women will find that spark to make “YOU” sparkle.

This year, Pam Glass has transitioned into a leadership role as the new owner of Kohler Expos, which produces the show. Glass has been with the organization for 17 years and is excited to inspire generations of women through the show. In her new leadership role, Glass is taking a deeper look at what motivates and sparks the West Michigan woman.

“After being with Kohler Expos for 17 years, I am excited to step into this new position and build on the strong foundation we have established,” said Glass, president and CEO. “The Expo is a multigenerational weekend destination for women throughout West Michigan. There is something for every woman, from shopping to health and fitness to fashion and home décor – we’ve really got it all.”

The three-day Expo is the largest single consumer event for women in West Michigan and will feature more than 400 women-owned and women-focused businesses – all accessible under one roof.

“Women will be inspired by the keynote speakers, learn new recipes and cooking techniques and participate in an interactive painting workshop. Local and regional experts will offer engaging and entertaining presentations and demonstrations on a variety of subjects, including a self-esteem workshop, facial rejuvenation, fitness, healthy eating, on-site hair styling and more.”

Soaring Eagle Resort and Casino is returning this year as a title sponsor of the three-day event. Soaring Eagle will host a large feature area with casino-themed fun along with giveaways.

Lake Michigan Credit Union again will be giving away a Caribbean vacation, valued at $2,000. You can sign up throughout the weekend at the Expo.

Another highlight of this year’s Expo is the presence of locally owned independent business owners.

“Today's market grows more and more competitive, with many new companies emerging daily,” Glass said. “This year's show will feature many different direct sale businesses such as LuLaRoe, Younique, Plexus and Wildtree. This gives women the opportunity to buy a trusted product while still supporting locally owned, female-run independent businesses.”

As in past years, there will be a live Cooking Stage, featuring demonstrations throughout the weekend. This year, show attendees will experience a live cooking demonstration with Chef Len of American Char. Chef Len has worked at five-star resorts and Fortune 500 companies around the world and graduated from the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. He now owns and manages American Char, a west-Michigan restaurant destination that focuses on Texas-style BBQ with a southern twist.

The Main Stage will feature speakers and presentations aimed at inspiring women to be the best possible woman they can be. Karen Palka from A Beautiful Me will discuss how to embrace every woman’s beauty at any age through a self-esteem workshop. Based in Southeast Michigan, the organization aims to empower women through positive self-image and confidence to invoke positive impacts on their schools and communities.

The Expo will also feature a fashion show, presented by Hawthorne Collection, a women’s boutique offering clothing, shoes, accessories, and more. Hawthorne aims to bring on-trend, stylish outfits to women of all ages. The fashion show will highlight the season’s hottest trends and affordable fashions. Other highlights on the Main Stage includes hands-on painting demonstrations, Zumba and skin care workshops.

The Great Lakes Writers Expo will return featuring more than 24 independent authors that will be on hand to promote literacy. Authors will also discuss their books, different methods of writing and sign their literary work.

The Expo is also providing the opportunity to give back to the West Michigan community through Hand2Hand, a nonprofit founded in West Michigan that supports at-risk children and families. The Expo entrance will be a collection site for non-perishable food and snacks, which will go home with elementary school children who are at risk of going hungry on the weekend. Hand2Hand serves more than 4,000 students each weekend in 105 schools in 27 districts. Accepted donations include chicken noodle soup, canned chicken, granola bars, fruit snacks, cracker packs or individual pudding or fruit cups. For more information about Hand2Hand, please visit www.hand2handbackpack.org.

The Expo is slated to run 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, March 10, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 12.

Admission at the door is $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 6 to 14.

For more information, visit www.kohlerexpo.com.

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