By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Speakers, demonstrations and booths - all of interest to women - will be in abundance at Havre's malls Saturday during a special forum.
The Atrium Mall and the Holiday Village Shopping Center will host a variety of talks, shows, giveaways and demonstrations during the Woman to Woman Expo.
Charisse Boedecker, who is coordinating the expo, said it is a trial event for north-central Montana that could lead to others.
"The main thing I've heard from people in the community is they're looking at this like a trial run to see if our region can actually develop our economy through events like this," she said. "We're all watching and waiting to see if it all works and if it's worth repeating."
Boedecker said the response has been gratifying. All vacant spaces in the Atrium are being filled with vendors and presenters, and the Holiday Village will also hold kiosks and displays and vendors. About 70 spaces, some with multiple presentations, will have samples, demonstrations and raffles at the two malls.
Darrin Overlie is a financial adviser at the local Waddell & Reed Financial Services office, and will be doing one of several financial planning presentations at the expo.
"I think it's a great opportunity for the community and to get information out to the people," he said.
Overlie said his office would probably be interested in participating in similar forums in the future if they are offered.
Angela Slade, marketing director for Holiday Village, said the expo has come together very well.
"It looks like a wonderful thing for the mall and I think it's going to bring a lot of people into the mall," she said. "It looks like there's a lot of neat and wonderful things for the people who come here."
The businesses at Holiday Village are planning special events and setting up displays, including a silent auction that will benefit the March of Dimes, Slade said.
The Good Sams Club is having a gathering in Havre this weekend, and is excited about the expo as well, she added. Good Sam members who have already arrived in their recreational vehicles are planning to attend Woman to Woman events, she said.
Slade said Holiday Village would be interested in participating in future events like Woman to Woman.
"It's definitely a win-win for us and for the community," she said.
Boedecker said interest in the event has come from a wide region. People calling from Glasgow, Kalispell and Billings are planning to attend, she said, and presenters are lined up from Havre, other Montana cities, and Wyoming and Washington.
Boedecker said she has been coaching and coordinating several Havre High School students who will act as masters of ceremony at the events.
"These girls are going to get some great experience," she said.
The presentations at the Atrium include several sponsored by Northern Montana Health Care, including talks on snoring and sleep apnea, "Heart Healthy Pasta," and "How to Make Your Death Easier on Your Loved Ones." Others include a presentation on "Finance for Women" by Waddell & Reed, and talks on Montana health insurance and "All the Questions You Wanted to Ask a Physician but Never Have," sponsored by New West Health Services.
One of Northern Montana Health Care's presentations will be on the musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder fibromyalgia. The hospital is sponsoring a support group for people who suffer from it.
At Holiday Village, presentations will be grouped by different themes.
The focus in the old J.C. Penney store on the east end of the mall will be on nonprofit groups, but will include a musical performance.
"We're going to be serenaded by the Anchor Academy for Boys," Boedecker said.
A featured speaker is Gilda Clancy, who will give a talk titled "Freedom in Montana."
Clancy, a former state legislator, lobbies for the Eagle Forum pro-family national movement, founded by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, and is active in many conservative organizations.
Also speaking will be Julie Millam, executive director of the Montana Family Coalition, and Pat Torgeson of Women in Farm Economics.
Torgeson will give a dramatic presentation in costume, Boedecker said, dressed as a farm woman from the time of Lewis and Clark.
At the center of the mall, around the fountain, there will be a series of shows and presentations, including performances by the Wild Rose Harmonizers and a fashion show titled "I am Woman," sponsored by Herberger's and Friends.
At the Holiday Village community meeting room, Valerie Waitley, area director of Curves International, will give a presentation. Waitley will talk about obtaining permanent results from fitness routines.
A variety of demonstrations, drawings and samples will be available at both malls.
"New products that have never been on the market before are being exhibited for the first time in the home and garden arena," Boedecker said.
That arena, in the old Woolworth store on the southwest end of the mall, will host several demonstrations as well. One is a demonstration of painting techniques by Barkus Home Center. Another is a demonstration of high definition TV by Radio Shack.
"Men can come and sit and eat popcorn and watch TV while their wives shop," Boedecker said.