Snow flurries and cold wind swept through Northeast Tennessee Saturday afternoon, but inside Freedom Hall Civic Center, home and garden vendors teased visitors with their displays of warm weather activities and projects.
The Johnson City Area Home Builders Association’s 44th Annual Home and Garden Show was in full swing as participants young and old filtered in and out of the arena and gym areas that were transformed into backyard patios, bathrooms and garden waterfalls.
Lisa Luster, executive director of the JCAHBA, said the show tried to encompass a little bit of everything, with 137 booths and 90 exhibits from vendors specializing in carpeting, roofing, cutlery, landscaping and hardscaping.
“We have everything you can possibly think of regarding indoor and outdoor living. That is our theme this year. We try to have a theme every year,” Luster said. “What we’re finding is so many people are back into the remodeling and looking at building, but they are interested in the remodeling side. They’re interested in ... fixing up their front yards, their side yards, their backyards, making their living area expand out into their outdoors. So, they’re really turning their outdoors into another home, basically.”
She said Saturday’s show featured a lot of exhibitors showcasing some of their unique products not easily found at a store.
Luster said visitors come to the show for many reasons, either to solidify an old plan or to come up with a new one regarding home and garden decor.
“They love it because they can come out and get ideas or take the ideas that they’ve had for a long time and get it down on paper and actually find somebody that can take care of the idea that they’ve had,” she said. “It’s perfect weather to be in here, because you can’t work out there.”
Tim Hicks, JCAHBA president and owner of Hicks Construction Co., said he was having a lot of fun Saturday and wanted to show the community that the construction business is back in bloom.
“As the economy’s picking up, we’re picking up with it. A lot of people (have) helped us through these tough times and we just want to try to give back and let people see what we can do,” he said. “I’m very excited about all the traffic and all of the positive feedback. A lot of people are interested and it looks like they’re going to be doing stuff this year.”
A group of David Crockett High School students in the SkillsUSA club were busy at work helping some of the show’s young visitors construct and paint their very own birdhouses.
“This is our second year doing it,” said Logan Tarlton, a senior at DCHS. “We got the lumber donated to us and we ... pre-cut all of the birdhouses out and pre-drilled holes. Some of them would just rather paint them, but then there’s several that want to build them.”
Tarlton said he enjoys working at the show and said he’s happy to “get out in the community, get our name out there.”
Terry Henderson, of Terry Henderson Landscaping, said he’s been in the landscaping business for almost 44 years and said he wanted to show visitors to his exhibit that they could marry landscaping and hardscaping to create a relaxing and fun outdoor area. He said adding custom walkways, patios, retaining walls, fire rings and outdoor fireplaces have been hardscaping ideas that have been trending when remodeling or fixing an outdoor area.
Henderson said he was enjoying his time at the show and said “it’s just great to meet new people and shake hands with old friends.”
Colleen Weems, who had visited the show last year, said she and her husband, Ken, decided to bring their two kids back out to get rid of their “cabin fever” due to the cold weather.
“We came last year and the kids had a great time making their birdhouses and we wanted some more. We had a lot of neat little sign-ups last year and ... cool freebies,” she said. “We can’t do anything outside right now, so the kids come, they can run around and get stickers and meet police officers and learn about safety and do fun things with power tools. They have so much fun, so we’re really excited we came out again this year.”
The Home and Garden Show will continue today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and is free for children 12 and under. The first 100 people through the door today will be entered into a drawing for a special prize.