An Affair of the Heart has grown from its beginning as a small craft show with 65 booths to the three-day spectacle that now attracts 60,000 to 70,000 people.
The 28th annual spring show kicked off Friday and continues through Sunday in seven buildings at State Fair Park. Exhibitors from across the country are showcasing home decor, clothing, accessories, food items and more.
Wear comfortable shoes, shoppers say, since there's a lot of walking to be done. Come hungry, others add, because food vendors are serving up roasted almonds, Fritos chili pie, corn dogs, cinnamon rolls and other treats. The die-hard shoppers bring their own carts, and many carts already were overflowing just hours after the show began.
“They call it the Super Bowl for women,” said Steve Harris, one of the show's organizers. Women arrive in huge groups. Some travel from out of town, stay in a hotel and visit all three days.
Linda Turner and her daughter, Amanda Green, were thankful they arrived when it opened at 9 a.m. Friday — before parking became limited. The pair, who shop the event every year, were hunting for women's and little boy's clothes.
“You see so many fun and different little things,” Turner said.
It's about more than shopping, attendees say. It's a social event with girlfriends, sisters, mothers and daughters.
“We just go to come out and get away from work, kids and husbands,” said Nicole Johnson, of Prosper, Texas. She timed a visit to her mother, Diane Johndrow, of Edmond, to coincide with the show.
An Affair of the Heart was first held in February 1985, organized by eight local women wanting a place to sell their crafts.
That show was held in State Fair Park's Hobbies, Arts and Crafts Building. Now it is one of seven buildings used.
Sixty-five exhibitors participated in 1985; today, there's upward of 700.
Admission was $3 the first year, and the event was one day. Now, it is a weekend-long event held four times a year: in Oklahoma City in February and October, and in Tulsa in July and November.
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