Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Gluten-Free for Life Expo - Largo, FL

It’s no secret…this year our attendance was an incredible 1,200 guests!  WOW!  With an additional 110 children under 12 who joined in the fun.  Along with another 78 wonderful Volunteers.  The date for our sixth annual Expo has already been confirmed – March 25, 2017 so you can plan on joining us as we do it again!

Because of you, our Fund Raising efforts were impressive - Food pantry $257.00, Raffle $817.00, Teens Tables $650.00, and $360.00 from T-Shirt sales.  Along with our Ticket Sales that means that you brought in enough to donate $2,500.00 to Sponsor children at Camp Weekaneatit.  And your contributions allowed the Gluten-Free Food Pantry to leave with a generous supply of Gluten-Free food for needy families in the area.  We’ll also be donating an additional $1,000.00 in Gift Cards from Publix Groceries to help the pantry keep the shelves stocked through the lean months this summer when kids are out of school.  Along with $800.00 in funding to the Gluten-Free in Florida Support Group.

Our Expo is unique in that it’s run by the Celiac, Gluten-Free Community, for the Community. And we do this through a 501(c)3 non-profit. Our Venue, the St Pete Coliseum, is a beautiful Historic Treasure. We keep our Vendor costs low, so that local small businesses can take advantage.  We have no paid employees, everything is done by Volunteers.  And our Volunteers work tirelessly to make the Expo a reality, so we work hard to treat them well and reward them for their efforts. Our ticket prices are reasonable, and every effort is made to insure none are turned away.  It’s not unusual for some of our Guests to pay it forward and purchase an extra ticket or two for someone else to enjoy.  All profits remaining after expenses go right back into the Gluten-Free Community as donations to the Tampa Gluten-Free Food Pantry, Camp Weekaneatit in Georgia, and the Gluten-Free in Florida Support Group.

Just in case you were wondering what you get for your $10.00 ticket donation:
     3 incredible, well known Speakers, who offer 45-minute presentations and then remain on the Vendors Floor throughout the day so you can speak to them personally.
     3 wonderful, local Teachers who offer smaller classroom sized 15-minute talk sessions every hour offering tips, tricks, and information on staying Gluten-Free for Life.
     50-60 fantastic, local, national and international Vendors who will be offering free tasting samples, and selling some of the newest products available at discount prices.
     All together in one of the most beautiful Venues here in Florida.

And if you were wondering if it's worth the drive, worth spending the weekend, worth the time and effort of spending a Saturday afternoon...ask yourself this: How would you like to spend time with up to 800 other people, (Mom's, Dad's, Friends, Family, Children, Teens) who all walk in the same shoes you do every day?? These people get it! They understand.

A slideshow of our day, plus many of our Vendors and incredible Speakers will be uploaded on the Website if you’d like to take a look. Our Vendors will remain listed on the site until October when we begin to get ready for next year. We appreciate all of you, and thank you for helping us work for our Celiac & Gluten Free Community!

Carolanne LeBlanc

Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
               Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse
               101 Imperial Palm Drive

               Largo, Florida  33771

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