Arena hosts 14th annual WSAZ Home and Garden Show
HUNTINGTON -- It may have been cold and snowy earlier in the week but the flowers know the warm shine of spring is on its way.
While the crocus, snowdrops and daffodils unfold outside, inside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena awakens with the energy of landscapers and home improvement booths gone wild.
From the sprawling Landscaping By Hillcrest display that's magically transformed the arena lobby into a backyard wonderland to more than 110 booths inside, the arena has come alive with the 2013 WSAZ Home and Garden Show.
Show hours are: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $6.50, $5 seniors (55 and over) and free for children (12 and under).
Molly Browning, one of the main show organizers for the station, said the show, now in its 14th season, is like a rite of spring.
Booths, which feature info on services that range from building log cabins to fencing and budget blinds, have been sold out for months now and more than 10,000 folks are expected to walk through the doors to check out the wares of this smorgasbord of landscaping and home improvement ideas.
"I know we all get excited when you see the crowds of people come in and see them generally enthused about what they are looking at with all the vendors," Browning said. "They are often seeing things they've never seen before and a lot of people are seeing things they didn't know they wanted and seeing things they didn't even know that you could do right here in this area."
Browning said although they have 110 exhibitors at the show, no one showcases their business like Kristy Scarberry's Landscaping By Hillcrest, which has been inside the arena since Monday moving in dirt, stones, trees, woody ornamentals and flowers to make their always-impressive show gardens and patios.
"I think that's what I probably look forward to the most is to see what the landscapers are coming up with, and what they do is amazing," Browning said. "I think Hillcrest has probably been doing that for at least 10 years and that helps us because as soon as you walk in the door you are hit, boom, with something fantastic and it makes you want to go further and see what else is in there."
In addition to the booths, there is also lots of hands-on fun for children, including the Kid's Adventure Garden, sponsored by the Huntington Garden Club, Bob's Market & Greenhouse, Green Clovers 4-H Club, the Franklin Furnace, Ohio-based group that always brings in small animals like chickens and ducks for kids to pet, magician and balloon artist Gary Boothe, Good News Llamas and Little Victories Animal Rescue Group.
Also, the WSAZ booth will be filled with its TV personalities, none more popular at this show than the station's home and garden expert John Marra, who will be meeting with fans and answering questions throughout the show.
For folks wanting specific and priceless info on home gardening and landscaping, the area Master Gardeners and Extension Service offices have a joint booth with tons of info as well as hourly interactive seminars on topics such as composting, extending the season, home canning, new plants, high tunnels and soils and fertilizers.
Wendy Wilson, who coordinates publicity for the Cabell County Master Gardeners Association, said there's no event like the garden show for getting out info to the public on such a wide range of topics.
"It's the biggest event we have all year in terms of exposure to the masses, and it's the best opportunity we have in terms of media exposure and face-to-face contact," said Wilson, who runs Crackerjack Farms near Willow Wood, Ohio.
Wilson said the great thing about their booth is that they have a wide range of experts from recent Master Gardener graduates to professional extension service agents who dispense plant knowledge for a living.
"No one should feel afraid to come up and ask a question because we all started out at the beginning, " Wilson said. "We have plenty of information on everything from companion planting to just some basic differences between annuals and perennials."
Wilson, whose farm provides produce and herbs such as fennel to the Wild Ramp, said she thinks some of the most interesting topics at the show will be the ones on extending the growing season through the use of high tunnels as that is a practice that she's implemented with success at her farm.
Lori Bowling from the Boyd County Agricultural Extension office will be doing that lecture in prime time so to speak, at 7 p.m. Saturday.
"The use of high tunnels really can tack a month onto both ends of the gardening season and shelter you from the extreme cold and the ice and snow," Wilson said. "We know people who have been growing kale and broccoli in high tunnels all winter."
Wilson said the show also lets the gardeners know how many folks really are interested in gardening, in trying it for themselves and in helping support local farmers and gardeners as well.
"It really does seem like there is a movement now to buy, grow, sell and to purchase food locally," Wilson said. "That is definitely more of a trend that we are seeing. I am also noticing that more people are trying to get away from chemicals as they are hearing more scary stuff about chemicals, pesticides and GMOs, so more people are interested in gardening without chemicals and without so many fertilizers."
If you go
Here's a closer look at the 2013 WSAZ Home and Garden Show:
WHAT: 2013 WSAZ Home and Garden Show with more than 100 exhibitors showcasing the latest home and garden products and services.
WHEN: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Big Sandy Superstore Arena
HOW MUCH: Admission is $6.50, $5 seniors (55 and over) and free for children (12 and under)
FOR KIDS: Kid's Adventure Garden, sponsored by the Huntington Garden Club, Bob's Market & Greenhouse, Green Clovers 4-H Club, magician and balloon artist Gary Boothe, Good News Llamas and Little Victories Animal Rescue Group.
Activities include an interactive garden and petting zoo.
LEARN ALL ABOUT IT: Here's the schedule of Master Gardener seminars:
5 p.m. -- Chuck Talbott, Soils and Fertilizers
6 p.m. -- Lyndall Harned, Composting for the Garden
7 p.m. -- Hal Kneen, Backyard Garden, Extending the Season
Noon -- Grant Bishop, Pesticide Safety
1 p.m. -- Rich Sherman, ATV Safety
2 p.m. -- Brenda Porter, Home Canning
3 p.m. -- Nicole Ward, 1000 Canker Diseases of Walnuts
4 p.m. -- John Porter, Making the Most of Your Vegetable Garden space
5 p.m. -- Julia Rollins, Beneficial Insects for Your Garden
6 p.m. -- Amy Aldenderfer, New Plants for Your Landscape
7 p.m. -- Lori Bowling, High Tunnel - Extending Your Garden Season