ESTERO — Hundreds of Southwest Florida women gathered at Germain Arena in Estero on Saturday morning for the final day of the first Women Today Expo.
Some came to participate in one of the expo’s workshops or listen to a particular speaker, while others came to hear about deals and packages from more than 40 vendors who set up booths at the event.
Most women who came to the expo did a little of both.
“I live in Las Vegas and go to a lot of expos because I like to see new and upcoming things,” said Kelly Lloyd, who took time from a vacation to attend. “The expos in Vegas are big, with 500 booths, but this is a nice atmosphere—happy.”
Doors opened at 9 a.m. for the three-day expo’s final day. By 10:15, about 100 women were participating in Dr. Lori’s lively antique appraisal presentation at the event’s main stage.
Many audience members brought in items for Dr. Lori to appraise, including a Superman comic book that introduced Lois Lane as a character. She valued the comic book at $250.
She appraised the next item, a George Jensen silver gravy boat, at $8,000.
Also taking the main stage Saturday were Kasey Trenum, a national coupon expert, and Casey Weston, a singer from Naples who appeared on “The Voice” during the NBC television program’s first season.
At the other end of the arena floor, women began to gather around the venue’s more intimate Conversation Stage to hear Dr. Julian Javier’s presentation on laser therapy and sclerotherapy to eliminate varicose and spider veins.
In between the two stages, a larger crowd of women, along with a few men, wandered among the booths on the arena floor.
Vendors offered everything from steak knives and bathroom remodels to financial advising services, travel packages, mammograms, purses and jewelry.
Many vendors also offered their potential customers cookies, donuts, crackers and cheese, or other hors d’ oeuvres.
“I wanted to come Thursday night for the cooking show but couldn’t make it,” said Trisha McPherson of Naples. “But there’s a good variety of booths today. I signed up for mammos and manicures.”
The Physicians Regional Healthcare System had a booth offering a package that included a free manicure with a discounted mammogram.
Other freebies at the expo included blood pressure and hearing tests. Dr. Douglas Menlo’s booth was particularly popular because it offered free massages on the spot.
“The expo is going really good,” said Franziska Duff, a marketing specialist for Dr. Menlo’s Bonita Springs office. “We’ve given away over 100 free massages, easily.”
Meg Evans of Naples was slowly working her way through the three long rows of booths. She came to the expo because a friend was working a booth.
“I think it’s a pretty neat expo, it has a nice pace and a good mix of vendors,” she said. “I didn’t realize this event was happening, or that it would be this big.”