Once again I attended another fabulous Gluten-Free Expo!
My family and I just attended the Philly Gluten-Free Festival this past Saturday in Oaks, PA. This was a fabulous place to find new companies, new products and meet other people following a gluten-free journey.
Thankfully this year we accomplished all three.
Each year this Festival has grown. The Expo Center was packed as we waited in some very long lines to try samples and talk to different vendors – all worth it! I love that my children were able to witness so many people following a gluten-free lifestyle! This proves that we are not alone on our gluten-free journey!
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Nancy Ginter from Beyond Celiac, an amazing organization continuously working hard to improve the lives of those living with Celiac Disease. Thankfully Nancy was there again and we were able to share some Celiac stories together.
One thing Nancy and I discussed was visiting colleges. On our recent tours, our family has found that many colleges and universities really have their gluten-free / food allergy situation understood and set for their students. Unfortunately, many schools still have a lot to learn. Nancy shared the Great Kitchens and Great Schools Program which educates schools, colleges and restaurants to operate and offer safe gluten-free foods to their consumers. This is great information to take with us on college tours to share when needed. Thanks Nancy!
Learning about new Companies
We passed through multiple new company booths and sampled their foods. Jovial Foods, Biena Chickpea snacks, Mompops, Sweet Megan, Gluten-Free Bagels, Don’t Go Nuts and Made Good were all hits with my children.
We were happy to see that some of the big grocery stores like Wegmans, Giant and Shop Rite, have all added new gluten-free items to their stores. And, they were all there passing out samples! Continuously expanding their gluten-free offerings is a big win for those of us in the gluten-free community.
Many restaurants and bakeries were selling and sampling delicious foods. The Expo offered a chance to talk with some restaurants to see how they approach food allergies. The Melting Pot shared that they take allergies very seriously and can definitely help us have a safe meal – just talk with the manger and they will take care of you. This is one restaurant I would love to try! Look for one in your area.
Trying new Products
We also learned about kambucha, chia teas, and doggie treats – yes, all gluten-free! Magical Moments Vacations shared information about vacations that are great for people living gluten-free – Disney had some nice options. Medications, supplements as well as vodka and beer were also displayed.
Besides food items there were many other booths. Pure Haven, Beauty Counter and Arbonne all offer natural beauty and personal care items. I had the chance to talk with Ashley at Pure Haven and found they have many new items, as well as cleaning products. Stephanie at Beauty Counter explained that their company uses all natural ingredients and care about the environment. All great companies to check out for sure!
Once again we found Anne from NJY Camps, where they hold a gluten-free Family Camp Weekend in June. I learned about this camp at a previous GF Festival, after which our family attended the camp. It was an incredible weekend for all of us! If you haven’t been or haven’t heard of them , check out all the fun you can have on your own gluten-free Family Camp weekend here! It is a great time for the whole family and it is ALL gluten-free! We are hoping to get back there again soon!
All in all, the Gluten-Free Festival is a perfect place for anyone following a gluten-free lifestyle. You can gain a lot by sampling foods, learning about gluten-free products, and even attending one of the fabulous talks they share during the day. It is a win-win for everyone!
Typically this is held every year in May. If you missed this one – watch for one next year. I will keep you informed of the upcoming dates.
If you attended, share your favorite thing from the Expo in the comments!
Happy Gluten-free living!
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