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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch video from the She Expo at www.timesfreepress.com.
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