published Sunday, July 28th, 2013

She expo: Cupcakes, camo and flocks of fans (with video)

Thousands attend annual She Expo
Thousands of people attended the fifth annual "She: An Expo for Women" event, presented by the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Saturday. The event featured shopping, cooking shows, pampering and celebrities, including DC Cupcakes sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne and Duck Dynasty star Marsha "Miss Kay" Robertson.
Sophie LaMontagne, left, and Katherine Kallinis, right, of Georgetown Cupcake and the TLC show "D.C. Cupcakes," do a cupcake demonstration with audience member Halen Sharp at the She expo Saturday. The event continues today at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Sophie LaMontagne, left, and Katherine Kallinis, right, of Georgetown Cupcake and the TLC show "D.C. Cupcakes," do a cupcake demonstration with audience member Halen Sharp at the She expo Saturday. The event continues today at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Photo by Maura Friedman.
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    Participants sample flavored popcorn at the Popcorn Pantry booth at the She expo on Saturday.
    Photo by Maura Friedman.
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    "Miss Kay," a star of A&E's show Duck Dynasty, waits to pose with VIP participants at the SHE Expo.
    Photo by Maura Friedman.
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    A participant waves during the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Survivors Fashion Show at the SHE Expo
    Photo by Maura Friedman.
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IF YOU GO

What: She: An Expo for Women

Special guests: "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Caroline Manzo; "The Doctors" physician Travis Stork and "Days of Our Lives" star Deidre Hall

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza

When: Noon to 6 p.m.

Admission: $12 online, $15 at the door

More info: www.timesfreepress.com/she

Camouflage and cupcakes highlighted She: An Expo for Women on Saturday at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Area women turned out in flocks to browse the bazaar of vendors offering ice cream, kick boxing, spray tans and manicures.

Some visitors said they came strictly for the shopping. Others were attracted by "DC Cupcakes" and "Duck Dynasty" stars Katherine Kallinis, Sophie LaMontagne and "Miss Kay" Robertson, respectively.

"We're here to see Miss Kay," Melissa McDonald, a Chattanooga resident, said. With her, Michigan native Kat Parker was excited to see the reality TV star.

"She reminds me a lot of my grandmother," Parker said. But also, she said, "She's hilarious."

Many of Saturday's guests came in groups of two and three generations to the event sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and Memorial Health Care System.

Crissy Gunter; her mother, Darlene Gunter; and her grandmother, Leonna Hensley, showed up to see Miss Kay.

"She was a big draw, but we do like the expo," Crissy said.

In exclusive interviews with the Times Free Press, Saturday's celebrities offered advice and encouragement to Chattanooga-area women.

"We still have to put our families as much on the front burner as we can," Robertson said. She added that women today often have to work to make ends meet, but there is still a need for the strong wife and mother who helps hold things together.

And she knows the challenge of being drawn away from home on business as well as anyone.

"I totally love to go speak," Robertson said. "I love to talk to my fans." And fans of the Robertsons' hit A&E show "Duck Dynasty" love her and the camouflaged crew -- especially fans in the Volunteer State.

She visited Chattanooga earlier this year and enjoyed a stay downtown. She said in 2013, the cast of "Duck Dynasty" will visit Tennessee eight times, more than any other state.

"We love Tennessee ourselves," Robertson said.

And she does know and love "Chattanooga Choo Choo."

Sisters Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis are the founders of Georgetown Cupcake, a small pastry shop that opened in Washington, D.C., five years ago and since has risen to be one of the country's top cupcake lines. They are the stars of TLC's "DC Cupcakes."

The sisters flew into Atlanta on Saturday, where the next Georgetown Cupcake shop will open.

They are excited to see the love of baking spread around the country through their show. For them, cooking has always been about getting in the kitchen with someone you love and cooking up a bit of nostalgia.

And no matter what, they said, following dreams is important. That's what they wanted to leave with the She expo crowd.

"Every day, it's going to be a little rough," LaMontagne said. But, she added, "At some point you have to stop worrying about what people think and do what makes you happy."

That, the sisters said, combined with a demand for the best ingredients, is the recipe for success and delicious cupcakes.

Contact staff writer Alex Green at 423-757-6731 or agreen@timesfreepress.com.

about Alex Green...

Alex Green joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 after completing the paper's six-month, general assignment reporter internship. Alex grew up in Dayton, Tenn., which is also where he studied journalism at Bryan College. He graduated from Rhea County High School in 2008. During college, Alex covered the city of Graysville and the town of Spring City for The Herald-News. As editor-in-chief of Bryan College's student news group, Triangle, Alex reported on ...

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