BELOIT—The Beloit Historical Society was filled with soul food, visitors and vendors for Saturday’s second annual Black Women in Business and Black History Month Expo.
Cars lined up all along the side streets as hundreds of people streamed into the business event.
Organizer Vickie Lynn said at one point there were 50 to 75 people in each room. She said food and speakers were the big attraction, which grew substantially from the prior year.
The fair featured vendors selling clothing, jewelry, makeup, gifts, soul food and decadent desserts; speakers; and the Knightingales step team. The event attracted vendors as well as visitors from Beloit, Janesville, Madison, Milwaukee and points in between.
“It’s important to support other black people,” said Aislynn Pounds, who was checking out the jewelry sold by Tameka Prior of Paparazzi Jewelry.
“It’s an amazing event and a nice way to bring together all black businesses,” said Shemeka Campbell, who was selling sweets with her husband Sheldon Campbelll.
The Campbells’ table was a big hit with chocolate-covered strawberries, cheesecake filled apples, caramel, candy apples and “black ‘herstory’ day” cookies in line with the theme of the event.
Customer Kameiko Goree was purchasing a toffee cheesecake apple. Goree said she came to the event to support her friend, the owner of JSweets, and her daughter, who was going to perform as part of the step dance team.
“This is awesome to see so many people come out with so many ideas. It’s nice to see this bring unity in the community,” Goree said.
“Whoever did marketing and branching for this event was on their ‘A’ game,’” said Gayle Listenbee, who was at the event on behalf of the Elite Ladies Social Club promoting their Juneteenth event set for June 20 at Telfer Park this year. She said the food was a big hit, with caramel apples, red beans and rice, catfish, collard greens and turtle cheesecake.
“There’s something for everybody,” Listenbee said. “This is such a positive event.”
Cornelius Turner, owner of Ribs, Reubens and More, was a tablecloth sponsor at the event. He said organizer Lynn helped him meet a lot of people.
“This was well planned out and wonderful. Everybody is so pleasant and everyone offers something different. It’s very impressive.”