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June 23, 2003


From: - Jun 23, 2003

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The first of Deaf Expo(tm)'s two 2003 shows was well received with over 2,000 patrons from 19 states in attendance. Celebrity guest appearances, new Sign Language Playhouse, unveiling of Video Relay Service enhancements and the premiere of a Deaf film production were some of the highlights of this two-day event.

Deaf Expo 2003-Philadelphia took place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on May 30-31, making it Deaf Expo's very first show ever held on the East Coast. Sponsored by Sprint Relay and coordinated by CSD, logistics involved to make this show "deaf- friendly" were visible to patrons attending the show, with voice interpreters in major program areas, real-time captioning in seminars and all programming in sign language. The show was very accessible to everyone - deaf, hard of hearing and hearing patrons; family members; professionals in the field; and government or corporate representatives.

The Deaf World Performing Stage had continuous programming on both show days. Alan "SPO" Schwartz hosted various performances, skits, interviews and "The Deaf Link" game show. Deanne Bray, actress of PAX- TV's "Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye;" Christy Smith, contestant in CBS's "Survivor: Amazon;" and sign language directory author Gabriel Grayson made appearances, followed by autograph signing in the Deaf Expo General Store.

The seminars program and technology forum had among its 55 presentations topics such as "Cigars 101," "USA Deaf Sports Federation," "The Search for an Ideal Job!," "Fighting and Preserving Our Rights," "Retirement Repair," "National Deaf Business Institute," "Filmmaking," "Technology and Deaf People" and "Internet Relay" on both show days.

The Deaf Art Contest displayed entries from children and adults. There were hourly drawings for door prize winners whose names were shown on visual announcement system monitors in the exhibit hall. Exhibits ranged from Social Security to books, sign language materials, videos, pagers, religion, camping, captioning, visual signaling and communications equipment, healthcare and giftware. Cochlear Americas, National Association of the Deaf and TDI were among the many exhibitors.

The Sign Language Playhouse was a brand new program launched in Philadelphia to provide opportunities for sign language and Deaf Culture students to engage in various sign language and finger spelling activities, games and skits. It was coordinated by Jeannette Vincent, an ASL instructor.

Emilia Nowalski from Frederick, Md. was the surprise teen winner of the $500 cash prize during Deaf Expo Playhouse's evening event on Friday night in the talent contest - in which all other contestants were adults! "Dormitory," a brand new film co-produced by Deaf Expo/CSD, premiered during Deaf Expo World Premiere on Saturday night, along with last year's film "Two Worlds Apart."

The next Deaf Expo show will take place on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7-8 at Long Beach Convention Center in California. Information on show ticketing, program and exhibit listings, participation opportunities and hotel reservations will be available shortly on the official Deaf Expo 2003 web site at www.DEAFEXPO.ORG