Central PA Gluten Free Expo Set for Nov. 9 at Penn State

STATE COLLGE -The second-ever Central Pennsylvania Gluten Free Expo will take place at the Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel, 215 Innovation Blvd., State College, on Nov. 9.

The event will include more than 40 local and national exhibitors, educational presentations, door prizes and samples. The expo will be open from 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

A tote bag with offers and gluten free samples will be given to the first 500 adult guests that day. The $5 advance tickets are on sale now at various area locations, or at the door for $10. Youth 16 years and under are free.

More than 1,100 people attended last year’s event, according to expo organizer Matthew Bolich.  “One parent came up to us at the expo with tears in her eyes and stated she was so grateful to have an event where her child could sample everything, since all products were gluten-free,” he said.

Market Web site specialtyfoods.com predicts that the gluten-free market will grow 48 percent from 2013 to 2016, to reach sales of $15.6 billion in 2016.  This is due in part to an increased awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivities.

Keynote speaker, Alessio Fasano, M.D., is a world-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist, research scientist, entrepreneur and founder of the Center for Celiac Research.

His visionary research led to the awareness of celiac disease as a growing public health problem in the United States. His prevalence study published in 2003 established the rate of celiac disease at one in 133 Americans.

As Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Massachusetts General Hospital, Fasano moved the Center to Boston in 2013, where he treats both children and adults for gluten-related disorders.

A passionate advocate for collaboration research and clinical work, Fasano recently authored Gluten Freedom to provide patients, healthcare providers and general readers an evidence-based yet entertaining book to dispel confusion about gluten and how it can affect your health.

Other speakers at this year’s event include cookbook author Annalise Roberts and Blair County resident Naomi Poe, owner of gluten-free flour company Better Batter.

Expo exhibitors will be sampling and promoting products and some will be selling gluten-free items, as well.  Confirmed vendors for this year include Schar USA, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Against the Grain Gourmet, Bakery on Main and Tonya’s Gluten Free Kitchen.

The presenting sponsor of the expo is Wegmans of State College, and tickets are available at all Wegmans locations.

The State College Celiac Support Group and Central PA Newspapers are hosting the event.  Expo details can be found at www.CentralPAGlutenFreeExpo.com.

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