Spring may not have sprung yet, but don’t tell that to the organizers of the fifth annual Great Lakes Home and Flower Show, which takes place March 4 through 6 at the Kalahari Resort Convention Center in Sandusky.
Flowers galore dominate this event, which boasts over 150 vendors and expects over 20,000 visitors throughout the weekend. In a nutshell, think home and flower show on steroids and you’re getting close to what’s coming. Funcoast talked to Mid America Events president Dominic Baragona about the event that continues to grow every winter.
Funcoast: What exactly is the driving force that will bring over 20,000 people through Sandusky this weekend?
Dominic Baragona: I think people have really come to know this show and know the quality of it. They know the landscaping rivals anything they’d see at a large Cleveland or Detroit show. It really does. There’s a giant wow factor with the landscaping that’s set up. If you can believe it, there’s even a lot more landscaping displays than even before. Plus, people are suffering from cabin fever. It’s been snowing, snowing, snowing and when we have this show, it’s their chance to really get out and smell the flowers and experience spring.
FC: Looking at this year’s event, what stands out for you?
DB: People just marvel at what these landscapers do and the amount of flowers they bring in. We have a couple more landscapers who are going to do a bang-up job with flowers and waterfalls. So it’s really going to be exceptional this year and then we also have Maplewood Herb Farms coming with their herbs for sale.
There will also be a big flower sale there and the great chefs from Kalahari will be doing cooking demonstrations throughout the event. Back by popular demand, we have Dave Dangerfield, an auctioneer doing pre-appraisals of everybody’s antiques and collectables.
That really draws a crowd. He was there last year and so many called saying they wanted him back. He’ll be doing free antique appraisals between 2 and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. We also have a petting zoo for the kids.
FC: For those folks who for whatever reason never attended a home and garden show, what are they missing?
DB: It’s a surprise to people who have never seen it before, so much beauty packed into a beautiful place. The convention center at Kalahari is state of the art, (an) incredibly beautiful convention center with carpeting and chandeliers. And then we add all of these beautiful exhibitors with fabulous displays of kitchens and windows and you name it. It just comes together and makes for such an incredible atmosphere that all the people as they leave compliment us on how amazing the show is.
Funcoast: Finally, what do you consider the niche of the Great Lakes Home and Flower Show to be?
DB: It’s known for the high quality of exhibitors and the landscaping. It’s so incredible. If there were no other home and garden show, and just the landscaping displays, it would still be a sight to see. Plus, there’s a $6 admission charge but there are free tickets everywhere throughout the market in Kroger stores, Home Depot (and) Vacationland Federal Credit Union locations. People just need to stop in one of those locations and get their free ticket. We’ve discovered for free really works.
The Great Lakes Home and Flower Show is open from noon to 9 p.m. March 4; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 5 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 6. Admission is $6. For more information, call 800-431-3343 or visit ohiohomeshows.net/great-lakes-kalahari.html.