The Gluten-Free & Allergen-Friendly Exposition (GFAF Expo for short) is coming to Dallas soon, and I figured the best way to announce it would be to share what Charlise and I learned not to do, as well as what we should have done instead. For some things, we didn’t know until this year, and they could have really helped us last year. Last year was also our first year, so… meh.
Charlise and I attended the expo this year—I wrote about it in a later entry.
1. Have a general idea of the building.
Know where the entrance is, for one. Last year, Dallas’ GFAF Expo was in November. Saturday had a greater wind chill than I could personally tolerate[1. I mean, I can wear shorts in 60-degree Fahrenheit weather, hence why I’m using myself as an example scale.], and we parked at the back of the building, which resulted in us walking all the way around to the front.
2. Plan to stay the entire day, if you can.
There are so many people to see that it’s impossible to see everything in the first day. According to the GFAF Expo’s FAQ, you can definitely leave to empty your bag(s) into your vehicle and come back. Charlise and I didn’t know about this, and we will definitely be taking advantage of it when we need to. There is no need to force yourself to carry everything, especially if it starts to get so heavy it’s unbearable, so go put it in your car, and come back.
3. If you want to experience everything, attend both days.
There is no way you can attend the expo in one day and see all the classes and all the booths; it’s just not possible. Charlise and I spent one day in the nut-free section, and whilst there were about two autism booths we didn’t go to[1. As an autistic person, I’m skeptical about certain organisations’ intentions.], we still made it through only half.
4. Remember to be safe.
This is a safe place, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down completely, especially if you have other allergies. It’s really easy for someone uneducated with nuts to say something is nut-free, “but…”, and then try to educate someone who is educated about nuts and nut allergies about how “rare” it is to have an allergy to macadamia nuts, Algerian nuts, and/or coconuts. Nut allergies are one of the most common types of food allergies in both children and adults, but allergies are uncommon to have in general.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to be scared! Many vendors are more than interested/willing to learn—they want to learn! From food to health and beauty products, there are a plethora of vendors who cater to this side of the world and just want to help you and people like you. It takes one person to make a difference, and even asking could inspire a product.
5. Wear tennis shoes/sneakers.
Avoid flipflops and other sandals, high-heeled shoes, and any other kinds of shoes that are uncomfortable walking in after a while. Open-toed shoes are recommended against, because your feet might get stepped on due to the amount of people attending.
6. Come well-rested and bring a bottle of water.
1) You’re going to need a good night’s sleep to be walking around all day.
2) I’m not going tell you to “stay hydrated” with a bottle of water, because that is scientifically incorrect, since water consumed directly does not go the same places water absorbed via food with lots of water content (e.g. fruits and vegetables) goes. 20 percent of your water intake comes from food, and it’s better to eat your water.
However, having water on you will help keep your mouth from drying out and keep you refreshed and cool. 🙂
Visit gfafexpo.com to see when the expo is coming to your city (or request it, if it isn’t!)