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Source: pjstarr.com

There were hundreds of booths and exhibits to choose from Saturday at the Women's Lifestyle Show, but the top choice for many women was an encounter with actor James Scott.

"I've been here since 9 a.m.," said Dunlap resident Tracy Lane, who staked her claim at the front of the line to meet Scott, who plays EJ DiMera on the NBC soap opera "Days of our Lives."

"I tape the show every day," Lane said during her nearly four-hour wait to meet Scott, her hands shaking in anticipation.

The line for autographs and pictures stretched endlessly inside the Peoria Civic Center.

"I've been watching 'Days of our Lives' for 20 years," said Amanda Thomison of Peoria, who designed T-shirts for herself and friend Brittany Miller that said "Team Sami," a reference to the current plot.

"We're hoping for a photo op," Miller said. "I think together we might be able to come up with something articulate to say."

Across from the snaking line was a large seating area filled with women ready to hear Scott speak on stage.

The crowd roared and cameras flashed as Scott walked out for a question-and-answer session, wearing a sport coat and a purple scarf.

"Are you married?" one woman asked.


The crowd erupted in cheers.

"Do you have a girlfriend?"


"Awww," the audience responded, dejected.

"She's not here," Scott said, receiving a round of laughs.

Event coordinator Jannell Justice said Scott was chosen after organizers received numerous phone calls and e-mails requesting him for the event.

"He's a big hit," Justice said. "He was heavily demanded."

But Scott wasn't the only draw to the event, now in its 17th year.

Justice said more than 200 exhibitors were displaying their wares Saturday and about 10,000 people were expected to attend the one-day event.

"Last year we doubled the size of the area we occupy," she said.

The show continues to grow, and the preparation to bring it all together takes about a year.

"We start planning next week for next year," she said.

Justice said the work is worth the wait.

"It's a fun day out," she said. "It's just a great, all-around women's day."

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