I just got back into town from almost five days in Columbus, Ohio. I haven’t been to Columbus before, and I really didn’t know what to expect when I landed at the Columbus airport after midnight after a rough flight full of delays. When I woke up the next morning, my heart was set on falling in love with the city after a very long day at the airport. I was not disappointed!

Short North is the part of town near the Columbus Convention Center. I chose to stay here because it had the highest percentage of gluten-free friendly restaurants in the area. A few steps from my house was a Bare Burger, and I loved my first meal so much, I went back to the same place three more times for other meals. I walked a few more steps to the North Market – a big indoor farmer’s market jam-packed with vendors. I picked up some locally roasted coffee, perused the fresh flowers, and examined every restaurant menu for potential possibilities. It must have been my lucky day because a pop-up vendor was selling gluten-free cookies that day. Is that a sign or what? I should have known then that Ohio had something magical in store for us.

Exhibitors Sampled to Huge Crowds

Columbus, you surprised even us! From the moment we let the doors open to the Ohio Expo Center, the crowds didn’t die down until later in the day. We were so overjoyed with the amount of people who showed up to the Columbus event – especially the very-busy Saturday morning crowd! Exhibitors were so excited to hand out a ton of samples and introduce so many people to new products that really showcased some of the best stuff out there in the gluten-free world.

Selfie Scavenger Hunt Ruled

I’m not sure how many times I high-fived someone for a Selfie Scavenger Hunt entry, but I was so excited every time someone came by the booth to snap a pic. Many attendees participated in the scavenger hunt, collecting selfies at several stations throughout the show, including our photo booth complete with chef hats, moustaches, and a Superman and Wonder Woman apron!

Sponsors Wow’d Columbus!

We didn’t have one sponsor – we had 7 sponsors, because that’s just how Columbus rocks! We had local favorite Bake Me Happy, a gluten-free bakery that recreates favorites like the Twinkie (called the Spongie) and oatmeal pies. They were so busy during both days – obviously Columbus likes a local favorite. Enjoy Life Foods hosted their #PlentilsTakeOhio campaign and showed everyone the joys of eating their lentil-based chips right out of the bag with their snack-sized samples! EZ Gluten showed off their at-home testing kits, so everyone can feel confident (finally!) in knowing that their food is safe. Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market had huge crowds throughout the show. They are launching more stores and bringing tons of gluten-free options to a city near you! Glutino won everyone over with their new pretzel varieties and even showed creative ways on how to use their food for baking. Magical Moment’s Vacations with Erin Davis was inundated with people posting to take pictures with Disney’s Frozen characters, and I’m pretty sure everyone will want to go to Disney after spending any time at their booth. Udi’s baked everyone grilled cheese sandwiches and showed off why they are a leader in the gluten-free bread world!

If you couldn’t attend Columbus, please celebrate with us and we’re unpacking our own swag bags! If you enter the Rafflecopter below, you could win a box full of goodies from the show including full-sized products, samples, and coupons! I personally have stuffed the boxes full of coupons and goodies from Enjoy Life Foods, NoGii, Power Pasta, Bakery on Main, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, and more! While we couldn’t possibly fit all the fun and excitement of the Columbus show in one box for you – we definitely tried!

Until Minneapolis GFFAFest in a few weeks, we’ll be here eating out of our swag bag from the show!

a Rafflecopter giveaway