More than 400 women shopped, ate and laughed their way through the evening at Her Night Out on Thursday at Grand River Center in Dubuque.
Elsa Weinert, of Dubuque, attended the annual Telegraph Herald and Her magazine event with a group of girlfriends who were once neighbors but have continued to stay in touch and get together periodically for outings.
“We always come to this,” she said.
Friends Judy Roling, Phyllis Astgen and Sandy Hickie, who have been getting together with Weinert for lunch once a month for 25 years, agreed.
“We’ve been coming since it was held at Clarke,” Astgen said.
Attendees were invited to browse and shop the vendor aisles before dinner.
At the Sunshine Circle Gift Shop at the UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital booth, a lively display of handmade Christmas items, made by hospital volunteers, was bringing some brisk business to the nonprofit shop.
“There’s been some heavy traffic,” volunteer Kelly Lengeling said.
Sisters Terri Wilson and Melissa Roling, of Hazel Green, Wis., attended their first Her Night Out event on Thursday. They could barely contain their excitement in getting to meet Tiffany Jenkins, the guest speaker.
“We definitely wanted to come and see Tiffany,” Roling said. “We’ve been following her for years on Facebook and TikTok.”
“And it’s a nice getaway from the kids and the husbands,” Wilson added.
Jenkins also signed copies of her book, “High Achiever,” before and after her set.
“It’s great to get out, isn’t it?” Jenkins said to the crowd. “It’s long overdue. I’m glad to see you’re all wearing pants.”
Jenkins has amassed a huge social media following that has morphed into a career as a stand-up comedian and in-demand speaker.
“I started on Facebook,” she said prior to going on stage. “I thought I was going to be a blogger, so I wrote a lot. I liked doing videos, so I posted one, and it got 60,000 views. I was shocked.”
Jenkins began posting more videos, talking about her struggles with anxiety, depression and addiction but giving much of it a comedic twist. Soon, people started asking her to come to rehab centers and prisons to speak.
She is currently on her second comedy tour. Her husband, Drew, has taken over caretaking duties at home for their three children, ages 5, 7 and 11.
“He’s doing a great job, but he doesn’t care as much as I do,” she joked. “They eat ice cream for breakfast. He plays video games all day. It’s crazy.”
Melissa Roling’s Her Night Out evening just kept getting better as the event went on — after meeting Jenkins, having her book signed and getting a photo, she also won one of the door prizes given away at the end of the evening.
“Oh my gosh, this has been amazing,” she said. “It’s been a really great night.”