For those who have never attended the massive gathering, it’s a procrastinator’s dream event with nearly 200 vendors exhibiting plenty of things dominating your to-do list without having to lift a finger. Although, be forewarned, you do have to walk through the massive Kalahari Resort Convention Center.
Still, if you’re thinking about redoing a room, adding a sauna, planting flowers, landscaping your yard or simply looking for a free afternoon of interesting fun, there is probably no better event to accomplish all of the above and more than the Great Lakes Home and Flower Show, which is actually adding a new wrinkle this year.
Want to go?
WHAT: Great Lakes Home and Flower Show & Great Lakes Arts and Craft Show
WHEN: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Kalahari Resort & Convention Center 7000, Kalahari Dr., Sandusky
Funcoast talked to Mid America Events president Dominic Baragona about the addition, as well as why folks should come out to this popular local extravaganza.
Funcoast: Let’s start at the top. What exactly is this massive affair?
Dominic Baragona (DB): It’s the Great Lakes Home and Flower Show and it has become the largest home show between Cleveland and Detroit. Last year broke our attendance record with over 20,000 people. This show is known for its amazing landscaping. We have four major landscaping companies here, which spare no expense when it comes to putting out the flowers and putting up incredible displays. Really it’s anything that a homeowner is planning to do to their home, whether it be windows, doors, carpet, kitchens, flooring. It is represented here in a big way. If they want saunas or hot tubs, they’re here. It’s like a one-stop shop for everything they could possibly need and tons of deals do happen in this show. People come in here and are very serious about doing their spring fix-ups and there’s millions of dollars worth of business written at the show. You’ll have a hard time believing it’s in Sandusky.
Funcoast:OK, the show is overwhelmingly popular. But we heard you added something different this year?
DB:What’s new is we added the Great Lakes Arts and Craft Show because we moved into the much larger center last year. Now we have over 120 crafters who are all featuring homemade crafts. It’s nothing you can buy from Japan or anywhere. That will be on display here for the full three days. We added them because we had the room. Prior to last year we were in the small convention center and the main hallway was filled and then the outside hallways were filled. So when people came to this show last year they saw a much bigger show and wandered into the hallways and didn’t see anything. We decided this year to add an arts and crafts segment and now when they wander out of the main ballroom they’ll see the beautiful array of arts and crafts so nobody would be disappointed.
Funcoast:In looking back over the past seven years, how has the event evolved?
DB:Before when we had the home show part of it, we had smaller exhibitors. It wasn’t until about three years ago, when we really got recognized, that we started having the glamour exhibits, the large kitchen displays, the countertops come to the show. Now they all see it’s pretty big and has such a great reputation that the number of exhibitors we attract is much greater than when we began.
Funcoast:Anything else stand out about this year’s Great Lakes Home and Flower Show?
DB:We have, back by popular demand, Dave Dangerfield doing free antique and collectable appraisers. He’s an auctioneer and it’s like a traveling “Antique Road Show.” He does a great job telling people all about their antiques and collectables, and then at the end he’ll tell them what it’s worth. Sometimes people are disappointed. Recently he did a show where somebody thought their collection was worth about $100 and his estimate was over $10,000. Sometimes you get surprised.
Funcoast:Finally, if someone never attended a home and flower show, what are they missing?
DB: It’s a complete breath of fresh air. It’s a complete breath of spring. When you walk through the doors you’re going to smell the flowers and you’re going to feel like summer has arrived. It’s been a brutal winter. It’s been very rough and people have had to stay indoors. They’re dying to get out. Everybody has cabin fever and when they come to this show they can honestly sit there and believe that it’s summertime.