For the first time in more than two decades, the Southern Womens Show will take place uptown, when it opens Thursday at the Charlotte Convention Center for four days of fashion shows, cooking demonstrations, health screenings and more than 400 exhibits showcasing trends and products.
This is the 31st show. In 1983, its first year, it was held at the Charlotte Civic Center (where the EpiCentre is now) during a time when Charlottes once bustling uptown was at a low point as many fled to the suburbs.
By 1990 organizer Southern Shows moved it to the Charlotte Merchandise Mart on Independence Boulevard, now called The Park. (This is the only one of Southern Shows longtime Charlotte events that will move uptown; the others, including the Southern Christmas Show, will remain at The Park.)
There wasnt a whole lot happening in uptown Charlotte in 1983, so to get people to come there was challenging, says David Zimmerman, president of Southern Shows. Now so many people live and work uptown, or theyre used to going there for exhibits, shows and a night out. Its a fun place to be now.
Tish Atkins, the shows manager, filled us in on the shows highlights:
Celebrity Chef Mike Stevenson, author of the cookbook A Way to a Womans Heart and the personal chef for the owner and players of the Washington Redskins, leads a cooking demonstration at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Thursday and 11:30 a.m. Friday.
Girls Night Out is Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. The first 600 guests receive a free glass of wine and the first 250 get a swag bag filled with goodies. At 6:30 p.m., eight firefighters from the Charlotte Fire Department will take to the runway to model the latest mens fashions from Dillards at SouthPark mall.
Duck Dynastys Jessica Robertson, wife of Jep Robertson, makes an appearance at 1 p.m. Sunday to share stories about her life and answer questions about the hit reality TV show.
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