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LRBA Home and Garden Show 'springing' up in DL

Thousands will soon be ascending the Kent Freeman Sports Arena as construction venders are "fixin" to showcase their products.

The Lake Builders Association is holding its 25th annual Spring Home and Garden Show next weekend.

"We've been working so bloomin' hard at it," laughs Sharon Westerholm, executive officer for the association.

This year, they've nailed down at least 100 booths of home improvement and construction businesses throughout the area.

The goal is for home owners to drift from booth to booth, while these home experts plant some ideas and present their products to those looking to improve or add to their humble abode.

"It's so good for people who are looking to do any remodeling or thinking of building a new home because they can talk to several different contractors; they can look and see and touch and feel," Westerholm said.

There are still people signing up for booths, but Westerholm says so far the booths include areas from the basement, all the way through the building of the house and yard.

"We have plumbing, heating, cabinetry, floors, windows, gutters, garage doors, granite, banks for financial needs, well drilling, public utilities..."

New to the event this year is a "Ask the Contractor" booth, where at least two contractors will be available for burning questions throughout the event.

Some of the contractors have been coming to the show since it started 25 years ago, but Westerholm says every year they also get new businesses showing up.

Members of the Lake Region Builders Association pay $250 to set up a booth, non-members pay $400.

"It gives them (business owners) exposure to around 1,100 to 1,800 people in one weekend, so I always hear about the good number of (customer) leads they get," said Westerholm.

A hard economy has meant an uptake in remodeling, according to Westerholm, who says people just aren't building new like they use to.

"People aren't sure of their jobs, and this is an easy way to make their homes nice during a time when people aren't buying or selling homes as much. Plus, the interest rate is down, so they're able to get the loans for remodels."

Westerholm says the number of people attending the show over the past couple of years has been down a little, but she says that was due to bad weather.

"We need it to be nice enough for people to want to leave their homes, but not too nice that they want to stay at home and do yard work."

It's not all business at the show, however, as the spirit of service and giving are also an important part of the event.

Several non-profit organizations will also be on hand to showcase their services.

Additionally, the Builders Association is donating $1 from every $5 admission ticket sold to the Becker County Food Pantry.

There will also be a silent auction at the event to raise money for scholarships, which are handed out to students entering the trades.

"You need good people in the field who can do a good job, whether it's plumbers, building trades, electrical ... we want to help them financially pursue that," Westerholm said.

The association has typically been able to hand out $1,000 scholarships to seven different students, with each year being a little different.

So far, over 200 items have been donated for the silent auction, including two televisions, a two-hour pontoon ride for eight people and several baskets.

Just walking into the door will also put you in a drawing for several prizes, including two Twins tickets and $250 in Chamber Bucks.

There will be no bucks for parking though, as that is free at the arena, as is admittance for people under age 18.

The Builders Association will continue to take booth registrations up until the day before the event.

The show runs on Saturday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, call Sharon Westerholm at 218-847-0699.