Life has been a whirlwind of meeting new people, savoring time with friends, sharing valuable information and tools! Spent this last weekend in Atlanta with our friends, the Domanicos, while attending the Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo at the Cobb Galleria. I love these events – I always come away with lots of new knowledge plus contentment knowing I have served people by helping them connect with valuable and money-saving resources!
The next GFAF Expo will be in Schaumburg Illinois – my stomping grounds. Excited to “host” many VIP’s to the area that have become friends and associates over the last year since I started attending these events. Here’s my list of Tips for Successfully Attending a Gluten & Allergy Free Trade Show:
- Wear layers of comfortable clothing. Temperatures can run the gamut – some places are hot outside and inside – so have layers that you can easily remove and stow in a tote. Even when it is cold outside, it can be brutally warm inside. I found this true when I was in Texas a few months ago. They are not used to cold or icy weather, so the heat in the hall was high to accommodate the locals but about boiled this Chicago, menopausal girl! Then half way through the show, the hall became cold since many complained about the heat and I had to go find a jacket…. The reverse can be true – brutal hot outside and a refrigerator in the hall inside… so be prepared by wearing layers.
- Comfy, supportive shoes ideally with a sock or liner to protect skin – an emphasis on supportive – you have only two feet to make it through your whole life. Take care of them with shoes that are not only comfortable but have support built in to preserve the integrity and health of your foot. Socks prevent blisters and uncomfortable chafing. I have learned that when I have to stand or walk for long periods it helps to have a second pair of shoes to change into. I know this sounds like a pain but when my feet hurt, I hurt all over!
- You need high protein snacks and a baggie of veggies/fruit. There are usually lots of carbs to taste at the gluten and allergy free expos so your body will be craving protein and national fibers for balance;-) Bringing a water bottle you can refill is a good idea. Most of the trade shows I have attended have limited if any access to a snack bar or concessions.
- Be prepared to wait in lines – I encourage you to bring and use your strollers, wheel chair, walker or cane-seat.
- You will have the opportunity to purchase “deals” from some of the vendors and many give out samples, coupons, magazines, etc. Bring a couple reusable tote bags that you can pull out as you accumulate goodies. Some who have challenges carrying may want to bring a rolling bag or suitcase to stow things instead of lugging them around on your shoulder.
- If you are local and can carry a lot of things home, plan to be at the expo at the end of the last day and have bags to fill. Many vendors will give away display product because too expensive to ship back home.
- Attend the speakers’ presentations. You will learn so much from those who have traveled the path you are on – useful information for your journey or valuable information to share with someone you care about. Plus you get to know the speaker/author/blogger and will find the ones you want to sign up for their emails/blogs or purchase their books.
- Bathe as usual but skip fragrance please. Many who attend have severe allergies and your favorite perfume or bath spray could ruin their whole day or week.
- Really VISIT each booth and talk to the people that are there. Most of us have a story to share that may help you along your path. Some booths are there just to “sell” or are a bigger manufacturer that has “hired” help with no knowledge of our industry….but if you take the time (and full advantage of your ticket price) to look each person you meet in the eye, most of the people that have traveled to this expo have a lot to offer you and you will be much richer for taking the time to find it…and have many more friends/resources to reach out to when you have questions or need help.
- Get on the email lists for the people and events that resonate with you. Most will offer early bird ticket savings.
Get a FREE One Year Subscription per Household to Delight Gluten Free Magazine ($24) with Online Ticket Purchase for the Schaumburg GFAF Expo May 2-3 (there is a fee.) You will be contacted by Delight one week after the event to start receiving your subscription. Tickets are non-refundable.
If you found this helpful, please let me know. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!