A sunny outlook

EXPO ORGANIZERS and helpers paused for a photo during a meeting last week. They are, clockwise, from left: Rhonda Fredricks, Casey Schmidt, Krista Loftness, Chamber Director Lexi Erickson and Aliyah Loftness. Photo / Per Peterson

Organizers of the 13th annual Prairie Women’s Expo are optimistic weather will be on their side for this year’s event

By Per Peterson

Mother Nature cares not about best-laid plans. Organizers of the Prairie Women’s Expo found that out the hard way in 2018.

This year, however, the forecast appears to be on their side. Barely.

“We’re thinking positively this year,” said event organizer Casey Schmidt. “(The weather) is in the back of our minds, but I think we’ll be OK. There’s no reason not to come to the Expo and commiserate with everyone else who is sick of snow!”

The annual expo, of course, was a victim of the unforeseen weather-related circumstances in 2018. Originally scheduled for April 14, the ever-popular affair was pushed back to April 28, thanks to a late-season snowstorm. That meant it was held on the same day as the Spring Vendor Show, just blocks away from the VMC at The Caboose. Fortunately, both events took place without a hitch, and spring was unofficially ushered in in Tracy.

“It’s going to go well,” said an optimistic Krista Loftness, who is also on the organizing committee, along with Becky Iverson and Rhonda Fredricks.

Only five or six vendors couldn’t make the new date last year, and Schmidt said those vacancies were filled by other people who weren’t previously able to make it to the event.

Despite last year’s weather woes, there is plenty of optimism surrounding this year’s rainbow-themed Prairie Women’s Expo — the 13th annual — includes about 50 vendors from all over the region. Two hundred goodie bags will be given away when the event begins at 9 a.m.

Painted Prairie Vineyard will hold seminars at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and the fashion show at 1 p.m. will feature Poppy Love Boutique, LulaRoe, Ruby Ribbon and Bonnie’s Boutique.

“Working with the committee to plan this year’s expo has made me realize how important this event is to not only the committee members, but to the vendors, to the businesses in town, and the surrounding communities as well,” Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce Director Lexi Erickson said. “One of the big things that stood out to me when planning was, we hand out 200 goodie bags to the first 200 people in line to attend the Expo. These bags are just for the first 200 attending the Expo, so there are so many more people that come to town and are looking to make a day of it. People may not realize this, but when visitors come to town for an event like the Prairie Women’s Expo they are looking to make it a full day socializing, shopping and supporting our local businesses.”

There will be six food vendors to keep everyone’s stomachs full: Tam and Petey Peterson, Sweet Kettle Madness, Food Pride, Lingen Farms, PeeMon Her (fresh and frozen egg rolls) and Tracy Area Girls (TAG) softball.

Erickson said the Women’s Expo is not a place to worry about counting calories.

The Prairie Women’s Expo committee is very excited to have some fun new vendors this year including some fun new product vendors and a few new food vendors,” she said. “We are excited to have Tammy and Petey Peterson’s food truck serving mini donuts, cheese curds, and fried ravioli starting at 8:30 a.m. the morning of the show. Sweet Kettle Madness will be set up outside (weather permitting) and will be popping popcorn at 8:30 a.m. as well. Tracy Food Pride will be serving a couple of croissant sandwiches, salads and will have beverages available for lunch. Another option for lunch will be walking tacos served by the Tracy Area Girls softball program. Peemon Her will also be there selling fresh and frozen homemade egg rolls. So plan on having breakfast, a quick snack (or two) and lunch downtown at the Prairie Women’s Expo. Calories do not count on Expo day!”

Besides its walking taco fundraiser, TAG will also be selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts as a fundraiser for this year’s after-prom festivities. The Tracy Liquor Store will be on site as well, serving different wines from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Door prizes will also be given away.

Sponsors of the 2019 Prairie Women’s Expo include: Bitton’s Roadhouse, Bruce and Becky Iverson, KJOE Radio, KLGR Radio, Knakmuhs Agency/Tracy Insurance Agency, Tracy Food Pride and Xcel Energy. The event is sponsored by the Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce.