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Dare to Be Aware Fair Celebrates 11 Years of Holistic Networking

Since 2007, the Dare to Be Aware Fair has been a cornucopia of all things related to holistic wellness. Attendance is predicted to top 1,000 this year as the fair has grown by leaps and bounds since its beginnings at the Mitchell Park Conservatory Domes, which is a testament to how the natural wellness community in the Milwaukee area has expanded over the last decade. This year’s fair takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 14, at Alverno College, in the Sister Joel Read Conference Center.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has once again proclaimed the day as Dare to Be Aware Day, honoring the fair’s contributions to the wellness of our city.

Fondly called “Dare Fair”, the event features over 100 exhibitors and 14 free workshops led by local and national experts in awareness, enlightenment and healthy lifestyles. “Our exhibitors run the gamut from leaders in personal growth and wellness to astrology and tarot readers, from massage therapists to energy workers and from chiropractors to crystal vendors,” says Patricia Clason of the Center for Creative Learning, the personal and professional development firm that organizes the fair. “If you want to know what’s happening in southeast Wisconsin when it comes to natural wellness, the Dare Fair is the place to be. You’ll find it all.”

The event began under Jill Borsos, a transformation coach and intuitive. Her vision was to bring together the community of personal growth providers in order to network and build public awareness. After three years, Borsos stepped down from the organizational aspects of the fair, handing the reins over to Center for Creative Learning.

Rather than just focusing on one particular area of natural health, Clason notes that the Dare Fair has a diverse representation of wellness and spirituality leaders. Their potential exhibitors list has grown to over 300 providers, three times larger than the number of available spots. The pool includes people that have worked with organizers in the past, as well as vendors that have just heard of the fair. “Every fall, we send out an email to let vendors know that registration opens November 1,” Clason says, “and by November 15, we’re booked solid.”

New vendors this year include a hospice and a funeral home. Though not traditionally thought of as wellness care, the hospice perspective sees wellness as including the ability for a conscious death process at the end of life. The funeral home became involved, Clason explains, because the act of proper planning and arrangement-making can relieve stress.

Other new vendors include a martial arts practitioner, which introduces the process as a meditative tool; and Sleep Number Beds, since more studies are revealing that getting solid, restful sleep every night is crucial to physical and mental health.

This year’s workshop highlights include Discover Your Emotional Design Blueprint to Feel Your Best & Receive Your Desires, with Michelle Bersell; and 5 Steps for Co-Creating with Loved Ones Who Have Died, led by Lynn Stull. Erik Swenson returns this year to lead his popular Global Healing Circle, which kicks off the fair at 8:50 a.m.

Alverno’s Hudson Café will be open during the fair so attendees can purchase hot food and salad bar items, or rest and take a break in the dining area. Clason says they completely revamped the layout of the fair this year for accessibility and easy traffic flow, and that the area for the tarot and psychic exhibitors will be quieter and less crowded. Four cabaret tables will feature natural health magazines including Natural Awakenings, one of the fair’s media sponsors.

Since Clason has been involved with the fair, she cites countless positive experiences, particularly the range of the exhibitors and guests that attend. “I just love all the people who show up. We have such a diverse spectrum of people who come to the fair,” she says. “I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place where there are so many loving, respectful, kind people in one place.”

Those who want to become involved with the fair can volunteer by contacting Clason at the number below.

Cost: $5. Location: 3400 S. 43rd St., Milwaukee. For more information, call 414-374-5433 or visit

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings.

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