The final stats are not yet in, but early estimates are that nearly 500 people (not counting children) visited the first annual Natural Living Expo hosted by ICAN and Drake University Women’s Studies Department. We didn’t know what to expect, but I personally think that 500 people is pretty good for the first year!
The vendors were pretty interesting, and a nice mix. There were of course many vendors dealing with childbirth – Amy Murphy’s new venture Before and After the Birth, the Birth Center, Cosette Boone of Willowsong Midwifery, Diane Tinker of Birth Companions, and more. And several parenting-related vendors such as Wallypop and The Stork Wearhouse, both cloth diaper and baby sling stores in town; NINO; the Cloth Diaper Crowd; Holistic Moms Network; API; etc. But it was great to see so many non-parenting resources there, as well. One Step At A Time Gardens, a CSA, was there. Iowa Health Freedom Coalition. Several Chiropractors. An Herbalist – Natural Choices from Eastern Iowa. An orchard.
I was busy running my own booth, but did escape for a few minutes to run around and visit other booths quick. I wish I’d had more time to chat with all the vendors! It seems that visitors were generally pleased with the event, and I know that for me personally, it was nice to be in a room full of people who see things the way I do. And to see so many babies being worn! What a great sight that was!! It was a long, tiring day, but very exciting as well. Here’s to a great time planning next year’s event!
2 thoughts on “First Annual Natural Living Expo In Review”
I want to note that since I originally wrote this review, the Expo has changed significantly.
I saw first-hand how the Expo was turned, almost overnight, from a nonprofit event sponsored by a local nonprofit group into a for-profit event sponsored by a local business owner.
Booth fees, especially those for nonprofit groups, more than doubled. They are now over $100. The informal policy of allowing nonprofits who could not afford the booth fee (which was $35 the first year) to have a booth for free, in the spirit of the event, has been abolished.
The focus of the event has changed, sadly, from the first year. In 2006, the focus was on community, bringing like-minded people together, sharing information. Now the focus is on what will earn the most money for those behind the event.
This year’s Expo is at the Animal Learning Center, a juxtaposition that turns my stomach.
The first year was great. That’s for sure. Then I saw one individual take this wonderful event, which was my brain child, and turn it into something I don’t even recognize.
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