THE PE Express First Choice Kids and Baby Expo ended on a very high note with six winners walking away with prizes valued at R72 000.There were plenty of winners throughout the three-day event with prizes and expo-exclusive offers promoted by generous exhibitors at the eighth expo held at the Boardwalk Exhibition Centre.Two finalists were drawn each day, winning prizes valued at nearly R3 000 each from First Choice Milk, Kids Emporium, Muna Bikes and Beans with Wings, and standing a chance of winning the main prize which was valued at over R54 000.With all six finalists on stage, the excitement mounted as the winning number was drawn by Spiderman (Alex Karantges) to the kids’ delight.The overall winner, Mandy Matthews (33) of Providentia, won an exquisite array of high quality baby items and accessories including a Stokke Xplory pram, a Stokke Sleepi Bed and linen, an iZisleep car chair and the comfortable Stokke Flexi Bath and insert. She also won a bumper hamper from Kids Emporium valued at R4 000, a family shoot from Impact Photography, and a portable jungle gym from Windsor Forest Products.The elated mother of 14-month-old Carter said she was surprised when she won as she had visited the Kids and Baby Expo for the past three years and entered the popular FAMILY COMPETITION each year with many entries, but this year dropped only three entries into the box.“This was my lucky year. I always look forward to visiting the Kids and Baby Expo,” Matthews said.In the true spirit of giving and receiving, Mandy immediately offered to donate her old pram to Healthy Mom and Baby Clinic in the Expo’s care zone. Her generosity was warmly welcomed by the non-profit organisation which is committed to the delivery of private care to the most vulnerable and underprivileged women of our community.The six finalist prize winners were: Shaunré Halgreen of Sherwood and Loren Achary of Greenacres on Friday, Leanri Nagel of Blue Water Bay and Bianca Labaschagne of Ben Kamma on Saturday, and Shafeeka Abdollatief of Malabar and Mandy Matthews of Providentia on Sunday.Judging panel impressed by quality standsA few exhibitors were also winners at the PE Express First Choice Kids and Baby Expo this weekend.To recognise the high standard of exhibition stands, a panel of judges, consisting of Tasmia Ismail of Media24, Carmelia Miles of First Choice and Andrew Stewart of Peri Expo, visited the expo on Saturday to rate the exhibitors’ creative use of space, visitor engagement and marketing information.Valley Crag and Gecko Grips took first prize with their clever climbing wall layout which was very inviting for kids and interactive for parents.Oumies Dolls took second prize for her effective use of space to display her life-like dolls, her passionate product knowledge and attention to detail.Party Stuff won third prize for their bright and happy décor, strong branding and enthusiastic staff. The judges also commended several other stands highly, naming MyMum, The Willows Resort and The Little Closet.Parents, children and exhibitors impressed with variety of the ExpoFamilies had plenty to keep them entertained this past weekend with the PE Express First Choice Kids and Baby Expo which saw a record number of visitors, over 6 500, at the Boardwalk Exhibition Level.Now in its eighth year, the Kids and Baby Expo enjoyed the reach of the broader Eastern Cape surrounding areas due to its new partnership with Media24 and its community newspapers.The growth and diversity of visitors was welcomed by exhibitors who were thrilled with the new potential business.Moms, dads, grandparents and extended family members were welcomed to the sound of kids’ laughter as they flocked to the expo to shop for adorable baby clothing, quality educational toys, nutrition, educational options and even family insurance. Nearly 90 exhibitors were running competitions, specials or sampling their products.Algoa FM’s Briony Sparg and Charlton Tobias hosted the event and kept visitors up to date with exhibitor specials and the entertainment schedule throughout the weekend. On Friday the expo kicked off with the talented St George’s Preparatory Schools’ musicians and drama learners onstage followed by the kiddies favourite purple dinosaur, Barney, before meeting Milki Moo at the popular First Choice Smoothie competition. Budding young chefs loved the opportunity of mixing fresh fruit and First Choice’s dairy products to compete for fun prize hampers.Kids rushed to take a photo with their favourite cartoon character at the Café Selfie Booth. The popular mascots strolled around over all three days, from Spiderman to Minion, Snow Queen to Mr Pritt.The kids loved the puppet and reptile shows and had fun winning prizes with Young Yoga and Play World Toys.Firm favourites at the expo were the three metre high climbing wall, the pedal go-kart track, the soft play area for toddlers and the cute face painting. Many families returned for a second visit over the weekend as the outing was such a success.Expo organiser Linda Harwood expressed her satisfaction with the success of the event following great feedback from exhibitors.“It’s been wonderful to experience the positive energy and success of this year’s event and to hear exhibitors’ feedback of building new business and to witness families thoroughly enjoying themselves,” Harwood said.Parenting 911 WorkshopThe PE Express First Choice Kids and Baby Expo launched the Parenting 911 Workshop this year, a new collaboration with ecBF, early Childhood Business Forum.The Workshop which was aimed at busy parents, au pairs, nannies, and pre-school teachers, working with children between the ages of 0 and 3 years, as well as health professionals, was supported by 50 delegates at the Boardwalk Conference Centre on Saturday morning.“We were encouraged by the support of the first Parenting 911 Workshop and hope to continue this event annually with the Kids and Baby Expo,” said Zeidie-Lee Müller, operations director of Victory Kids Early Intervention Centre and one of the workshop organisers.