Expo: Thinking spring, despite snow and cold

PLANNING MATTERS — From left, Prairie Women’s Expo organizers Krista Loftness, Casey Schmidt and Rhonda Fredricks spent time last week going over some of the finer details surrounding this year’s Women’s Expo ­­­— the 12th annual. Others on the planning committee include Gayle Whiting, Becky Iverson and Becky Averill.

More than 60 vendors lined up for Prairie Women’s Expo

By Per Peterson

Irony is defined as the use of language that normally signifies the opposite — typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

There’s nothing funny about the wintry weather that won’t go away, but it’s hard to ignore the irony found within the theme of this year’s Prairie Women’s Expo: “Welcome Spring.”

“There are one to two blocks of people lined up to get in the show early — hopefully it warms up before then,” said Expo organizer Casey Schmidt.

This year, cold or not, more than 60 vendors are signed up for a booth at the Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, at the Veterans’ Memorial Center in downtown Tracy.

Schmidt said this year’s planning process has been made a bit trickier since there is no Chamber director to officially handle much of the organization load since Kim Roggatz stepped down from that position last year.

“It’s more having to do the behind-the-scenes stuff; I’ve never had to deal with the sponsorship stuff before,” she said. “Kim took care of answering all the emails, sent registration forms to people, set up advertising with the radio and newspaper — stuff like that. We miss her greatly this year, but she has still helped with behind-the-scenes stuff.”

Schmidt, who is joined on the planning committee by Krista Loftness, Rhonda Fredricks, Becky Iverson, Becky Averill and Gayle Whiting, did say that new Chamber President Greg Carlson has been a big help in the planning efforts. Jesse James also offers his talents.

“We kind of got a system down, so we know how to get things done,” she said.

Planning for the event typically begins in December or January. The Expo was started more or less a complement to the once-annual Tracy Area Sportsman’s Show and has blossomed since its inception. It’s now in its 12th year.

“It soon developed its own path,” Schmidt said. “Our focus is to support Tracy and it’s businesses and people in our community who have home businesses.”

The food court includes sponsors Bonnie & Clyde’s and Food Pride, as well as the Tracy Area Girls (TAG) softball club, which will be serving walking tacos as a fundraiser for TAG for operating expenses and for Tracy-Milroy-Balaton softball for scholarships.

This year’s fashion show, which begins at 1 p.m., features LuLaRoe, Pendants by Pam and Small Town Girls, and items can be purchased on-site.

There will likely be wine tasting going on at the Expo, but bottles of wine will not be sold. Also, fresh, hot kettle corn will be cooked and served outside the main doors of the VMC, and 200 goodie bags will be given away.