Sunny with a high of 75 - Sunday conditions at the Nevada County Fairgrounds were perfect for carving bears.
Jeff Turpin's roaring chainsaw turned logs into cubs, eagles and raccoons in his outdoor booth at The Union's 25th Annual Home and Garden Show. Children hugged the bears and posed for photos; grown-ups picked up the card for his business, Owl Creek Lumber Co.
It's Turpin's fourth year selling his crafts and networking at the show, and this was a good one.
"The community really takes care of me," the Foresthill resident said; half his business comes from Nevada County.
In a recession, extras such as woodsy lawn ornaments and home improvement projects often get the back burner, and many of the 200 vendors at the show have felt the pinch of the past year.
People aren't installing pools like they used to, according to Mason Cosgrove, sales manager at Auburn-based Dal Pino Quality Pools. People browsed the indoor Dal Pino booth during the show, but few were serious about the major investment.
Other vendors had luck with recession-resistant deals. Grass Valley-based Custom Landscapes started offering classes on do-it-yourself landscaping, a compromise for gardeners who can no longer afford a professional overhaul, said owner Adam Rowe.
Families walked dogs through the show, snacked on ice cream and quesadillas, and tried their luck at hourly drawings.
Nevada City resident Suesan Larsen won the biggest raffle prize - a custom-designed storage system for her garage, donated by Allstar Garage and The Union's Newspapers in Education program.
Larsen said her garage is in "terrible" shape at the moment.
"This is going to help tremendously," she said.
Final numbers aren't in yet, but organizer Tara Walters said the $5 parking charge - which were added this year by the fairgrounds to defray maintenance costs - likely affected attendance at the Home and Garden Show.
"The random Sunday strollers aren't dropping in," Walters said.
But thanks largely to the sun that capped a dreary, drizzly week, "everyone was in high spirits," she said.
"It's a great show and we couldn't pull it together without the vendors," Walters added. "They're going to keep it going for another 25 years."
To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4247.