A new trade show directed solely at women is about to open with its very first ladies' night.
It is being organized by a group of women who own businesses in and around Estevan, and was initiated by Jennifer Melanson, who remembers ladies' night events in Provost where she used to live. While this is meant to be a great night out for women, the evening will also feature a trade show of products geared toward women, and many will be directed particularly at brides. The Estevan Ladies Night and Bridal Show is going to be coming to Spectra Place for the first time, but the organizers hope the event will be an annual one.
"There should be something in the area to promote women's business, and I wanted it to be not for profit," said Melanson.
It's also a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Society and will be held on Oct. 29 at the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. After announcing the event would support breast cancer research, Melanson has received numerous letters from women, some of whom are her age, with their stories of breast cancer. It was a bit of an eye-opener for Melanson hearing from women of her age with breast cancer.
Reading those letters, she said "tugged at my heart a little bit."
She has been interested in organizing a ladies' night ever since being part of one that happened in Provost. Here the evening will include a trade show, which she is organizing. The fashion show, she said, "is a whole big monster by itself," and is being put together by Joyce Wallin and other women in the community who have clothing stores.
Wallin hasn't organized a fashion show since her time in college, but said she is very excited to see the show finally get going next weekend. Some members of the Estevan Bruins SJHL team will be featured on the catwalk during the show, and others will be dressed in formal garb mingling around the women.
Wallin said that while the Bruins will be showing off the masculine clothing lines, the majority of the outfits will be geared towards bridal gowns and grad dresses, with all the clothing supplied by local stores. Wallin is glad there is finally going to be a show by women, for women.
"I'm excited. It's an awesome idea," she said, adding that there has been a bit of a learning curve for the group who is organizing this event for the first time.
The general consensus though, is that they want to follow up the show with a second one next year.
The trade show is meant to fill a gap Melanson felt there was in the community, with a lack of shows that focused on catering to women. The setup for the trade show is expected to bring in as many vendors as Showcase, and she hopes there are somewhere between 75 and 100 exhibitors.
Ladies' night is the first, but hopefully not the last to be held in the city, and Melanson hopes this event is something that will return for years to come.
She and the rest of the organizing team have been working on this event since May, but those five months have gone much faster than expected for planning an event of this magnitude.
"It's happening very quickly. It's not that long of a time to put something like this together."
Brian Zinchuk will emcee the night and Carol Cundall will be the guest speaker.
Melanson loves bringing a show exclusively for women to Estevan, but added that being able to raise money for breast cancer is "icing on the cake."
The show will have hundreds of raffle prizes and $5,000 in diamonds to give away, as well as a 50/50 draw. Tickets are available at many businesses in Estevan. Check out event posters for a complete list of where tickets are available.
Doors open at 3 p.m. on Oct. 29, for the event that runs until 1 a.m.