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Extreme makeover contest highlights Women’s Expo

By Staff | Nov 2, 2009

Left to right, Sonja Willmert, Linda Steinhauer and Marcia Milbrandt invite women to attend the Women’s Expo, Saturday, Nov. 7

Beauty, massage, shopping… what more could a woman want…and it will all be available at the 5th Annual Women’s Expo, Saturday, Nov. 7, 8:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. in the Blue Earth Area High School gymnasium.

In addition to the 73 vendors and sponsors at the Women’s Expo, the committee members have added a whole new and uplifting dimension to this year’s event. Wanting to pamper and take care of women, the group decided to seek nominations for an extreme makeover contest.

“We knew there were stories out there where women were neglecting themselves in order to help others, particularly in these tough economic times,” says Linda Steinhauer, committee member of Women of Worth.

Steinhauer says the committee members were really pleased with the number of applicants they had for the makeover contest. The greatest problem then was to narrow the entrants down to the final three based on their nomination letters and submitted photographs. This job fell to Jill Krieger-Swanson, this year’s 10:30 a.m. keynote speaker, who is a certified image consultant, author and motivational speaker. The topic she will address is how to use color.

The Women of Worth wish everyone could have won the makeover, as a result, they have extended a personal invitation to all nominees to attend the event, free-of-charge. These women will also receive a special gift from the committee.

The three women chosen for the makeover contest are Shannon Leyva in the 20-39 age bracket; Janet Grabouski (age 40-59); and Helen Tesch (60 years and above).

The different age brackets were selected because there are women of all ages and varying occupations deserving of a makeover, say Sonja Willmert and Linda Steinhauer. These categories were also picked because of the styles that are unique to each age group.

As finalists, Leyva, Grabouski and Tesch met with Krieger-Swanson on Sept. 23 to begin their extreme makeover journey. On this date, Krieger-Swanson did a color analysis on each of the women then took them, along with committee members, to Enderson’s Clothing in Fairmont to select an outfit which would complement their coloring and figure. Many, many outfits were tried on before the group made their selections of what the finalists would wear on Nov. 7.

A few days prior to the event, the hair stylists will cut and color the contestants’ hair. Amy Anderson of Ultimate Design in Wells will be the stylist for Leyva; Marie Northwick of Headlines Plus in Blue Earth will do the honors for Grabouski; and Patty Nowak of Winnebago’s PR With Style will work as Helen Tesch’s hairdresser.

“The beauticians got to select the age category they wished to work with in the extreme makeover contest,” explains Willmert.

Professional photographs, before and after, will be taken of the respective age group finalists by Sandy Youngbloom, Wells; Kim Coissart, Blue Earth; and Amanda Steele, Blue Earth.

“The contestants, seated in the center of the gym, will transform right before the eyes of those in attendance,” says Steinhauer. This is when their hair will be styled, make-up applied and they will don their new outfit. “We think people will want to see the dramatic change.”

Other events planned for the day include a 9 a.m. presentation by Dr. Stuart Sherry, UHD, speaking about Hormone Replacement Therapy.

The Women’s Expo will also be teaming with Kids Against Hunger. Local members of the Kiwanis Club, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans chapter 31187 and the National Honor Society will be packing 15,000 meals in Unity Hall.

But most of all, the Women of Worth want women to come out, enjoy themselves and relax.

“This is a great holiday shopping opportunity,” says Willmert. “We have put a lot of thought into vendors so their products are not in competition with others selling similar items. Among the items available for sale at the Women’s Expo will be purses, jewelry, personal care products, scrap booking materials, clothing, food and even Harley-Davidson of Albert Lea will be present.” Chiropractic and massage vendors will be on site in addition to an “organizer lady” from Okoboji with helpful advice. There will be something for everyone.

“In our county, it’s amazing to bring 70 plus vendors to one event,” says Willmert. “This is a county-wide event.”

For those wishing to remain on the premises throughout the day, Julie Stevermer will be providing morning refreshments and catering the lunch.

Door prizes will be drawn throughout the day and persons need not be present in order to win.

All proceeds from the day’s event will be donated to Faribault County Domestic Violence projects.

Steinhauer reports last year the committee raised over $2,000 for the Faribault County Domestic Violence program. Again, the committee, consisting of Steinhauer, Willmert, Marcia Milbrandt, Chris Teskey, Carole Scovill, Becki Steier, Deb Barnes, Kristi Travis and Deb Wiederhoft, is dedicated in educating people about domestic violence. Their way of doing this is through the Women’s Expo.

Parents of the local Boy Scouts will provide valet parking for those not wishing to walk across the parking lot.

Admission to the Women’s Expo is $4.00 with a $1.00 discount if a personal care item is presented at the door. Personal care items include lotion, toothpaste, combs, brushes, soap, hand towels or anything a person might need if they were unable to get into their home.

Shopping and pampering, while at the same time providing for a fun ladies day out, is the goal of this year’s Women’s Expo.

The Women of Worth hope women from throughout the area will spend a fun day in Blue Earth at the Expo and watch as the extreme makeover finalists unveil their new look.