published Friday, July 20th, 2012

Celebrities, shopping, prizes and fun for females of all ages at She Expo

IF YOU GO

What: She: An Expo for Women.

When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza.

Admission: $10 online in advance, $12 at the door.

Website: timesfreepress.com/she.

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE

• Noon-2 p.m. Nicholas Sparks book signing

• 1-2 p.m. Relish cooking demonstration

• 2:30 p.m. "An Afternoon With Nicholas Sparks" interactive stage presentation

• 4 p.m. Giuliana and Bill Rancic

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE

• 1-2 p.m. Mark Ballas/Cheryl Burke fan photo session

• 1:30-2:30 p.m. Relish cooking demonstration

• 2:15-2:45 p.m. Miss Tennessee Chandler Lawson

• 3 p.m. Mark Ballas and Cheryl Burke stage presentation

• 4:15 p.m. Fashion show

Fans of "Dancing With the Stars'" Mark Ballas have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in store for them this weekend at She: An Expo for Women. They will be the first to hear Ballas perform music from his new album that is still in production.

"I'm bringing my guitar, and I'll sing all-new material. It's all songs from the new CD. Its music is more in your face than 'HurtLoveBox,'" said Ballas in a phone interview.

While his fans know his prowess on the dance floor, they may not be aware that he is also a singer and actor. In fact, he made the decision to leave musical theater behind for the opportunity to be on DWTS, he said.

Ballas has played roles such as Judas in "Jesus Christ, Superstar," Benjamin in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and Ritchie Valens in "The Buddy Holly Story."

Ballas and good friend Derek Hough fronted the Ballas-Hough Band in Los Angeles for five years. After moving on to focus on a solo career, Ballas released "HurtLoveBox" last year. He compares that title to a keepsake box.

"Since I was a young age, I've kept memories in a box. When I was a kid, it was the shoebox under the bed. That album was a collection of emotions, the highs and lows of life," he explained.

His current CD is still untitled. He has been recording between DWTS appearances, musical gigs and even a visit to England during Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

On Sunday, Ballas and Cheryl Burke will give a dance demonstration, he'll sing, and she'll be talking about experiences from her book, "Dancing Lessons."

Saturday's lineup includes a book signing with best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, followed by "An Afternoon With Nicholas Sparks." The author said he'll tell fans how he got his start, what inspires his characters and also give the audience a little insight into his writing style. Sparks will be followed by reality TV couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic's stage show.

Cooking shows, shopping at more than 150 vendor booths, trying spa treatments and signing up for giveaways from the vendors are all part of the fun waiting at She.

Guests also can register for a summer getaway to Nashville. The package includes a one-room, three-night stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort for up to four people, breakfast, a ride in the Delta's boats inside the resort and a Gaylord Opryland VIP coupon book.

The expo will close Sunday with a fashion show moderated by Kim Coulter. Fashions will be provided by Belk, Dillard's and Tu Tu Cute Bowtique.

Tickets may be purchased on the Times Free Press website in advance, or at the door. One ticket is good for admission both days.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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