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Women attend annual fair to be pampered

JoAnn Valdez (right) BetsaidMaldonado look necklace from 'Premier Designs' Munster during Pampered Woman Show held Jean Shepherd Center Hammond Saturday

JoAnn Valdez (right) and Betsaida Maldonado look at a necklace from "Premier Designs" of Munster during the Pampered Woman Show held at the Jean Shepherd Center in Hammond on Saturday March 23, 2013. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media

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If you go

The City of Hammond’s 11th Annual Pampered Woman’s Show continues from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 24, at the Jean Shepherd Center, JF Mahoney Drive, in the city’s Hessville section.

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Updated: April 25, 2013 7:24AM



HAMMOND — While women of all ages shopped til they dropped among the accessories, beauty and food products offered at the 11th Annual Pampered Woman’s show Saturday afternoon, a more practical yet vitally important one-stop shopping table could be found among the glitz.

The city’s Planning and Development Department, which has hosted a table at the event for the past five years, provided information on services available to Hammond residents, such as its home ownership and home rehabilitation programs and financial assistance for day care, among other programs.

For specialist Derri Gibson-Burns; rehab loan officer Jennifer Hinojosa; and Alexius Barber, executive director for the city’s United Neighborhoods Inc. program, their table fit right in.

“The women come here to pamper themselves, yes, but reality is still here, so being here is twofold for them,” Barber said. “We had a woman who’d come here to shop, but then she came to our table and said she was going through a divorce and needed information on housing. She hadn’t come here for that, but here it was.”

“They’re empowering themselves,” Hinojosa added.

The crowd was a different this year, event coordinator Sue Carroll said. Normally, the biggest crowd would be in the morning, with it tapering off during the day. This year, the crowd was steady.

“I think people are taking advantage of the great weather before whatever’s supposed to hit (Sunday),” Carroll said. “But everyone’s shopping, and customers and vendors alike are pleased.”

Tony Schifino, owner of AJ Specialties in Merrillville, has been a vendor for the show for three years and said the people are what make coming worthwhile.

“The people I see here don’t always come to the shop in Merrillville,” Schifino said. “And I’ve done print and billboards, but getting out and shaking hands and kissing babies, that’s the way to do it.”

Friends Amy Imbesi of Crown Point, Carol Ciszczon of Schererville and Jessica Amos of Gary started their day at 12:30 p.m. By 4 p.m. the pile of stuff they left at vendor Dionne Hulsey’s booth to lighten their load was still growing.

Saturday was Imbesi’s first visit to Pampered Woman.

“(Amos and Ciszczon) talked me into coming, and it’s very fun,” Imbesi said. “There’s a lot of different vendors and unique things, but it’s classy. And there’s not just jewelry; I bought pickles, pumpkin butter, scarves. I went to every booth.”



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