A Mother of a Show in Chicagoland

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Hey Bebe, hey Bebe, hey!

My family and I went to our first baby expo, Bebe Paluzza, Saturday in Schaumburg, Ill.

In theory, getting to the hotel before 9 a.m. to be one of the 50 first moms to get a $500 swag bag seemed doable and necessary. I wanted a good story to tell (mommy catfights? Stroller derby action?). Mostly, though, I wanted to see what was in that coveted bag!

But before 9 a.m.? On a Saturday? After deadline week at work? Pshh. Right.

It’s Showtime!

We weren’t totally unambitious – we rolled into town around 10 a.m. As we were parking, I noticed lots of mommies, preggos and grandma-types pushing strollers to the entrance and was worried about a poor daddy showing. Still, I figured the Daddy Lounge would serve as a refuge for the outnumbered dads, possibly including my husband J. We met our giveaway winner/mommy extraordinaire Cindy C. at the doors and were encouraged by the crowd’s diversity and impressive daddy turnout.

The long line moved quickly and before we knew it, we were roaming the aisles, bagging any freebies we could find and holding our own through a few major bottlenecks along the way.

What We Loved

We thought it was pretty cool KinderCare was en force to entertain the kids so mom and dad could a walk the show without distraction.

The fire engine was a huge hit care of FireZone. Ollie was ALL about the big red truck. Cindy spun the wheel of fortune at the Dave & Busters Daddy Lounge for an Elmo basketball that she kindly gave to Ollie.

We appreciated the booths that had sample snacks like Baby Mum-Mum, and Wheat Thins and fudge-covered Oreos from one of the radio stations on-site. Later when I got home, I found a packet of candy and coupons from Dulcelandia, an awesome Mexican candy store in Chicago. Que dulce!

Most of the vendors, while innovative and creative, were geared toward parents with disposable income. Custom cloth diapers, chichi babywear, trendy baby slings and designer diaper bags dotted the aisles. There’s definitely a demand in the luxury baby market beyond rich parents, though. Before I was a mama, I was a doting aunt, friend, sister, cousin, etc. with lots of new moms to shop for. I remember sparing no expense for memorable shower gifts and funky birthday presents. And let’s not forget all those grandparents out there whose main purpose in life is to spoil our kids!

I saw a lot of those fun multi-tiered diaper “cakes” for baby showers. I remembered the first time I saw one at my own shower. my BFF had made it herself and in the core, she hid a bottle of Jack Daniels. Now that’s a true friend.

On the Mamapalooza stage, a cute guy-girl acoustic band was playing some feel-good mom rock.

In the heart of the show floor, the Mommy Lounge with its cushy couches, aroma therapy and massage chairs offered a zen-like presence amid the hustle of strollers, preggo bellies and tots rushing around.

What We Missed

Although a well-organized show overall and an inexpensive family outing ($10 per adult), there are a few things that could have made it better …

Got Milk?! – I’m not sure about all of the little intricacies of trade show planning, but the concessions should have been stocked with milk. It’s a baby expo.

Wider Aisles – J, who largely pushed our umbrella stroller, said the aisles were a little too narrow for all the heavy stroller traffic. And I can only imagine what it was like to maneuver one of those double-wide SUV strollers.

Freebies, Not Just Coupons – I would have loved more freebies. Freebies are awesome. Everyone likes freebies. They’re memorable and provide instant gratification. Especially little toys or snacks. The kids LOVED the snacks. Not to mention, they’re simply good PR.

We ♥ Balloons – And a balloon on the way out would have gone over really well. Some bank could have sponsored that (you know, with a logo printed on it). When you make the kids happy, you make parents happy. Everyone remembers little gestures that put a smile on a child’s face.

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2 Responses to “A Mother of a Show in Chicagoland”


  1. 1 Kelli Stapleton August 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Such a fun show! The Midwest is just *awesome* !!

  2. 2 Jenn Kampmeier August 5, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Hi- Thx for the great feedback snd story that you told. I did want to comment and say that we encourage the concession to have extra milk. As you may not know we are not in charge of that and will ensure that next year there is a greater supply for the demand. I love the idea of balloons but unfort if one of the little kiddos let’s go of it and it floats to the ceiling… when then… that causes issues for show management to the tune of dinero to remove it.

    Again- thx for the blog post and we enjoyed having you attend!

    Jenn Kampmeier
    Owner- Bebe Paluzza Productions!


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