Gluten free is topic of expo

Foods will be available to sample

Celiacs and others with gluten sensitivities and allergies can get an abundance of information at the fifth annual Central PA Gluten Free Expo in State College next month.

The event is open to the public from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 at the Penn Stater Conference Center, 215 Innovation Blvd. in State College. At least 1,000 people are expected to browse an area with at least 50 local and national vendors where gluten-free foods will be available for sample or purchase, including breads, nuts, funnel cake mixes, pizza, pastries, vegan burger patties, pizzelles and baking mixes.

Many companies represented at the event have carved out a gluten-free niche by producing products that are difficult to replicate or find in a gluten-free form, such as the soft pretzels produced by Tonya’s Gluten-Free Kitchen, based in Newmanstown, according to an expo press release.

Another unusual product available is Gee Free Foods’ puff pastry, currently the only gluten-free version available commercially in the United States.

“Finally, those who love to cook have the option of creating whatever they want, whenever they want,” said food consultant Susan Hougui, who co-founded the company. “Beloved family recipes that once seemed lost forever due to health concerns can now faithfully be recreated.”

The expo will include experts speaking on their knowledge, including:

* Keynote speaker Dr. Nicholas Inverso of the Penn State Medical Group Endoscopy Center in State College.

* Author and blogger Melinda Arcara.

* Dana Zificsak, a travel agent who specializes in Disney destinations, all-inclusive resorts, and cruises and is considered an expert in gluten-free travel, having a young son with celiac disease.

A Wegmans chef will present a gluten-free cooking demonstration, and a kids’ activity zone will feature gluten-free play dough and face painting.


If you go

What: Central PA Gluten Free Expo

When: 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 5

Where: Penn Stater Conference Center, 215 Innovation Blvd., State College,

Admission: $9 in advance, $12 at the door, 16 and younger free.

Tickets/More info: Altoona Mirror, all Wegmans, by phone 1-800-827-6397 or online at,