Women’s Expo opening downtown


Representatives of Spectrum Health's Vein Center staff a booth at the West Michigan Women's Expo in DeVos Place. Photo via fb.com

The West Michigan Women’s Expo is set to open downtown this weekend.

The expo, which is produced by Kohler Expos, will be held this Friday through Sunday at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

The Women’s Expo will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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

Now in its 19th year, Kohler Expos said the Women’s Expo is the largest single consumer event for women in West Michigan. It features more than 400 women-owned and women-focused businesses.

Pam Glass, who recently assumed ownership of Kohler Expos after 17 years of working as an employee of the company, said the expo is a “multi-generational weekend destination” for women throughout the region.

“There is something for every woman, from shopping to health and fitness, to fashion and home décor — we’ve really got it all,” Glass said.

Expo highlights

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 Towne of American Char. Towne has worked at five-star resorts and Fortune 500 companies around the world and graduated from the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. He now owns and manages American Char, a West Michigan restaurant that focuses on Texas-style barbecue 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."

Other highlights on the Main Stage includes hands-on painting demonstrations, Zumba and skincare workshops.

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

Giving back

The Women’s Expo is also providing the opportunity to give back to the West Michigan community through Hand2Hand, a nonprofit 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.

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