Soldotna event teaches ways to make life easier

Posted: Sunday, April 18, 2004

Saturday's dark skies and wet weather weren't enough to keep hundreds of people from attending the Kenai Peninsula Builders Association's 25th annual Home Show at the Soldotna Sports Center.

This year's event featured more than 120 booths, as well as free demonstrations and seminars from professionals who know how to build, remodel, design and provide services that Alaskans need. There also were cash and prize giveaways.

Those in attendance gave a mixed review of this year's event.

"It was really good this year," said Frank Trigg of Soldotna. "I've come to just about all of them, and there's a lot more quality stuff this year."

Unlike some people at the show looking at buying a home for the first time, Trigg already had a place to hang his hat.

"We have our own home, but we have an unfinished addition that we're looking for ideas on. We got a few ideas by coming out."

Altolee Dunn of Soldotna said this wasn't the best Home Show she had ever been to.

"I've been coming since '94, and I can't quite put my finger on it, but it wasn't as good as usual," she said.

However, despite the mild criticism, Dunn said she did find information on a few products, which made the show worth attending for her and her husband.

"We were able to learn about Phantom Screens, you know the ones that slide into the wall to open. We really wanted to learn about them after hearing about them on HGTV."

The Dunns got answers to all their questions about the screen doors such as how much they cost and where to get them. They said they were even considering purchasing the screens, despite learning the company isn't Alaska based.

"Normally if it's not an Alaskan company we won't even stop and look at it," Dunn said.

Some of the 2004 vendors were staples of the home show, returning year after year. Yet, despite how many years they attended, they didn't seem to loose their luster with the crowd, since nearly all the booths were bustling with business.

Re-Group a grass-roots organization that promotes recycling is a veteran of the home show, and their booth was one of those that stayed packed with people.

"This fits into the Home Show because recycling and composting is something you can to on a small scale at home to reduce your waste," said Lanie Hughes, who worked the Re-Group booth.

She had brought two types of worms to draw people into the booth and both did their job well. For the kids there were gummy worms and for the adults there were live Red Wigglers to illustrate the process of composting.

"People usually start from about three or four feet back, but as they learn about the purpose and usefulness of the worms, they get closer and closer," Hughes said.

Alaska Spa Headquarters was equally busy with people asking questions or stopping in to say they were satisfied with a spa they had purchased.

"We're having good traffic today," said Rhonda Richie, who worked the spa booth. Next to her, a giant, 485-gallon cauldron of bubbling water was holding steady at 96 degrees and many people dipped their fingers in and smiled.

"Spas are popular here with the long winter and make good outdoor swimming pools for the kids in summer," Richie said.

A few booths away, Arctic Eden Greenhouse informed an inquisitive group of spectators about the mini hydroponic unit 'A Garden in a Bucket,' which is an automatic self-watering system on a timer.

"These are very popular with seniors, the disabled or those who don't have a lot of time or space for a regular garden," said the booth's attendant Pepper Johansen.

She added that although this was here first year having a booth in the home show, things were going well.

"There's a lot of interest with spring around the corner," she said.

The Home Show continues today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and students and free for children under 12.

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