For Women Only Expo empowers female community

The most anticipated women’s event in the area returns this weekend to educate and entertain the women of Erie.

The 14th annual For Women Only Expo will take place at the Bayfront Convention Center from 4-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday. The expo features a variety of exhibits, speakers, events and contests for guests to take part in.

Katie Bool Shafer, the director of marketing and sales at Erie Promotions and Expos Inc., said the idea came about 14 years ago when a couple of board members wanted to make an event  where women could come together to have fun, shop and be educated. Since then it’s grown into the largest women’s event in Erie.

“Thousands of women come to the event each year,” Shafer said. “We see mothers, daughters and girlfriends coming to the Expo to have a great time.”

The schedule for the expo is packed with a multitude of events from speakers like Dan Evans from “The Biggest Loser” and naturopathic doctor/TV personality Dr. Holly Lucille to a Ladies Night Out to flu shots.

According to the website, the event is separated into different pavilions based on categories such as health and wellness, culinary creations and the marketplace.

Gannon University assistant professor of communications and the arts professor MC Gensheimer said she first heard about the For Women Only Expo a few years ago and she’s gone to the event a couple times. She said over the years a few of vendors have changed, but it’s mainly stayed the same.

“It’s a great place for networking and also a good place to find goods and services,”

Gensheimer said.

Gensheimer said she’d like to go again this year because in her experience, the event has always been fun and enlightening.

Shafer said the expo can be beneficial to women of all ages, including students.

“[College-aged women] can gain helpful fashion tips, cooking ideas, health screenings and they can also get their flu shot,” Shafer said.  “[Or they can] do a little Christmas shopping and just have fun with their girlfriends.”

Lauren Loop, a senior theatre and communication arts major, said even though she’s never been to the For Women Only Expo, she thinks it’s an“It’s a good idea because it’s not just about hair and makeup,” Loop said. “It’s very multifaceted, so it’s not just superficial stuff.

“It looks like it embodies every part of life that a woman would care about.”

Loop said she likes that the expo would give information on health and wellness, such as exercising and cancer screenings, parenting skills for women with children and figuring out logistics of home insurance – things some college students might know nothing about.

“I feel like this would give women the chance to talk about things they wouldn’t want to talk about in mixed company,” Loop said. “Also it gives them a chance to shop, which is always fun.”

The “FWO Marketplace” pavilion lets visitors browse through local shops and independent business consultants.

Gensheimer said the expo not only benefits the attendees, but it also helps the Erie community.

“It brings in a variety of goods and services to the area,” Gensheimer said. “It fills hotel rooms, brings people to restaurants and stores and it showcases Erie’s Bayfront, [so it’s] a plus on many levels.”

Tickets to the expo are available for $7 and discounted tickets can be purchased online for $6.




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