The Waxahachie Civic Center was brimming Saturday with hundreds of visitors who came out to see the more than 130 vendors on hand.

Billed as the county’s largest expo of its kind, the annual Lifestyles Home and Family Expo covered more than 60,000 square feet of indoor space serving up entertainment, shopping and fun for the whole family.

There was something for everyone, including auto dealerships, weight loss programs, financial institutions, construction, jewelry and nonprofit organizations, just to name a few.

Debra Wakeland, president and CEO of the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, was nothing short of ecstatic over the community’s response.

“This is one of the nicest shows I’ve seen,” said Wakeland. “There are so many great products and services out here and just a great display of Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce membership.”

Ellis County nonprofit charitable organizations had a strong presence in the expo this year. Casey Ballard, executive director of United Way of West Ellis County, was gratified by the visitors her venue received.

“I believe people in Ellis County are starting to understand what the United Way of West Ellis County does and how many organizations we help to support,” Ballard said, saying the organization contributes to more than 28 different nonprofits throughout the county.

“One program we’re adding is the United Way of West Ellis County Fund, which allows us to serve some immediate community needs,” she said. “There are a lot of emergency cases that need attention now and this fund will help us to meet those needs.”

Community leader Chuck Beatty, who serves as a board member of UWWEC, was on hand to weigh in on the worth of the charitable organization.

“The United Way of West Ellis County touches so many agencies – actually it touches one out of every three Ellis County residents,” he said. “As far as helping people, it is the best bang for the buck – it’s a most efficient way to help people who are in need.”

Weight loss venues logged scores of visits by people interested in changing to a healthier lifestyle. Kathy Eriksen of Take Shape for Life answered some of those nagging questions about weight.

“People are just basically looking for ways to effectively lose weight and to keep it off and how to live well,” Eriksen said.

Dr. Bobby Haney of Waxahachie Dentistry LLD, who has recently relocated within the city, was grateful for the exposure he received.

“We’ve been in our new location for a year now and I’d say the experience has been 99 percent positive,” he said, saying this was the first year his office had participated in the expo.

Linda Naizer, executive director of Waxahachie Care, was also sharing the program of her organization, saying that while contributions are critical to the success of her organization, she had a list of other needs.

“We always need food, volunteers and we desperately need a larger building – one with 3,500 square feet,” Naizer said. “We have so many plans and there are so many people that need assistance and we just can’t do the job without the extra space. And I know the Lord is going to provide, but it doesn’t hurt for us to put the word out.”

She noted that the economic downturn has place pressure on Waxahachie Care.

“Times are hard and with fuel going up to at least $4, there will be an increase of requests for gas to get to work – you know, people making minimum wage aren’t going to be able to afford gas to get to work,” she said.

Wakeland also acknowledges that the state of the economy has had a profound impact on merchants.

“I believe that even in these economic hard times, more people are analyzing how to expand their business and get the most for their advertising dollar,” she said.

For further information about expo, contact the chamber at 972-937-2390 or visit the website at www.waxahachiechamber.com.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.