Oooh it’s that time of year when the flowers start to bloom and we get to head to Chicago! It really is that toddlin’ town…but more than that, it is the host city for the world’s largest and best gluten and allergen free expo.
Yes, that’s a bold statement – and it’s true! The Chicago GFAF expo is by far the largest gluten free show of them all, and yes, it’s amazing.
If you live within driving distance (heck even flying distance) of this show, you must go! Here’s the details:
April 12-13, 2014
9:00-3:00 both Saturday and Sunday
The Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center
1551 Thoreau Drive North
Schaumburg, IL 60173
*parking is free!
If you buy online you get a steep discount than if you purchase at the door – so do it, do it NOW!
The show will have hundreds of gluten free vendors not to mention an entire gluten and nut free section. But in addition to samples galore, there will be some fabulous speakers both days. You will learn everything from how to cook gluten free to details on how to nourish your body (micronutrients and kickstarting your metabolism, to name a few)!
This is a show you do NOT want to miss. Here’s my tricks and tips for navigating the weekend.
Look at the speaker/class schedule here.
Look at the list of vendors here.
Make yourself a list. The classes you want to go to and the vendors you MUST see (I hope we’re on that list).
Base your days around classes. IF there are any classes you are not interested in going to – hit your favorite vendor tables during the times where everyone else is in that class.
If you want to go to all the classes, then on Saturday cruise the aisles in between classes to find some hidden gems that weren’t already on your MUST SEE list.
Then, on Sunday get there early! Hit all your MUST SEES then. Saturday is the busier day and your must-sees might be swarmed…so early Sunday morning is the prime time to see those vendors because they won’t be slammed and you’ll get some good one on one time to ask questions, try lots of samples and really spend some time.
Now, one caveat to this is, if you want to buy something from your MUST SEES then go see them FIRST thing Saturday morning. If you already know you are there to purchase some things – then you want to make sure you get to that specific item before everyone else buys it all up Saturday.
What to bring:
- refillable water bottle
- nuts/protein bar – some sort of protein (it will be carb sample overload)
- camera/smart phone – take pictures of your favorite vendors, or product – so you’ll remember when you get home (not to mention we love it when you tag us on twitter, facebook, or instagram!)
- notepad/pen – of course you wanna make notes (if you’re like me)
- folder/padfolio – something to organize all your literature
- a pull behind cart – lots of people carry these, because that reusable tote gets heavy after a couple hours
- an extra reusable tote – especially if you’re not bringing a pull behind cart (you can fold it up and keep it in the one you get from the show, but you’ll be glad you have it when your bag gets too full)
- wear your cross-the-body handbag – trust me having to fuss with a shoulder strap bag AND two reusable totes is a bit of a hassle AND more chance that you will leave something behind
MAKE SURE TO:
- always put your credit card/wallet back in your purse immediately after purchasing something. Even if the vendor is trying to hand you your goods at the same time, put that thing back STAT! Too many times a woman is so excited about her new lipstick purchase at our booth that she will walk away without her card and I go chasing her down the aisle – that is first and foremost! You don’t want to have that panic attack at the next booth because you’re not sure where your card is – always put it back in the same place – everytime!
- download the FIND ME GF app to your fancy phone – it has tons of GF eating options listed (with reviews from other GF peeps) for your specific area. Find Me GF is an excellent resource for finding a great GF menu after the show. Because, trust me you’ll be ready for some real sustenance and to sit down and relax.
If you are going to be in Chicago we wanna hear about it! Tweet us @redapplelipstic (yes, without the k) and let us know!! We’re also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/redapplelipstick and on Instagram @redapplegirls
We will have tons of samples, and almost every color for you to actually try on. We love going to these shows so that we can meet you face to face and hug your neck. Come see us at Booth #214!
Here’s some vendors I’m really excited to see:
Bakery On Main – #300 (say hi to Whitney!)
Cybele’s Free-To-Eat – #1103 (Cybele herself will be there, pick up one of her cookbooks if you can!)
Delight Gluten Free Magazine – #301 (Say hi to Jordan!)
Feel Good Foods – #605 (this couple makes uh-mazing egg rolls)
Norwex – #705 (chemical-free cleaning products, I use all their rags, say hi to Janice!)
Lovely Lady Products – #304 (time to get some more face soap!)
Send Me Gluten Free – #1000 (an amazing soon-to-be-released monthly box that we will be featured in – they’re running specials right now!)
U-Be-Livin-Smart – #802 (these muffins are completely grain-free, gluten and nut free – heaven!…they WILL sell out!)
I would love to hear who you’re excited to see!!
See you there!