By Denise Williams
It’s that time of year when the ladies take over the Prime Osborn to attend the Southern Women’s Show 2017! This year the show drew over 1,200 vendors who offered the ladies of Jacksonville and surrounding counties an opportunity to shop til they dropped. A portion of the show’s sponsors were concerned the event would have a poor turnout in the wake of Hurricane Irma but the ladies were lined up before the show began on Thursday morning to bond with friends and family as they perused the offerings from vendors. The attendees came from all over the east coast to see what unique and fun gifts they could purchase.
There were a plethora of activities to engage in during the show that catered to nearly every participant. Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez drew much excitement as she met with her fans, signed autographs and posed for selfies. Hernandez competed in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games with the U.S. Women’s gymnastics team. She won the gold medal in the team event and the individual silver medal on the balance beam. The Cooking Stage offered various chefs serving up some amazing dishes every half hour! The spotlight stage showcased crafters, meet and greets, book signings and a mosaic trivet demonstration.
The models of Dangerous Curves Jacksonville graced the fashion & entertainment stage bringing fashions for the plus-sized woman. Their show and the sassy confidence these beautiful models brought garnered cheers and applause from the audience. Other fashion presentations were made by Boutique 3:16 which offered multi-generational clothing options. The owner Ms. Tonya Holifield, offered apparel in misses, petite and plus sizes. In addition, both shows illustrated affordable looks for day and evening, career and casual.
The Jacksonville Fire Fighters are a staple at the Southern Women’s Show and this year the ladies flooded the Fashion & Entertainment stage up to thirty minutes before the show to secure a seat. These bold ladies screamed, shrieked and fully examined the “assets” of the firefighters. As the firemen “persuaded” the ladies to overwhelm them with monetary donations for various charities, the ladies flooded their social media feeds with videos and pictures of the show. This show drew the largest crowd of all the stages in the show while remaining fun and quite risqué. It was obvious the ladies had a blast while “connecting” with these brave first responders.
Belk offered a gift card every hour; Chevrolet encouraged participants to take a vehicle test drive for ten dollar gift cards. Bright Futures, funded by the Florida Lottery were in attendance, educating the attendees about the program and Dr. Ted Brink & Associates gave away gifts to the first 100 guests on Saturday to raise awareness concerning vision health.
The Southern Women’s show is hailed as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season on the First Coast and this year’s offering was a huge success.