Barbara Bashall: On with the show |

Barbara Bashall: On with the show

Stop by and visit the Nevada County Contractors' Association at their booth at this year's Home & Garden Show.
Submitted Photo

Visiting a home show can be overwhelming, and with more than 150 vendors, The Union newspaper’s 34th Annual Home, Garden, and Lifestyle Show is no exception. There is so much to see, learn and do that sometimes it’s hard to take it all in.

In this month’s column, I’m going to give you all the tips you need to tour the expo like a pro.

First, make plans to attend the home show, either Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and/or Sunday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s best to plan to spend at least three or four hours there.

How do you know you’ll find the right exhibits or talk to the right people about your project(s)? In the days leading up to the expo, go to the website Review the list of vendors. While there isn’t much information provided other than the companies’ logos, you can Google the businesses that catch your eye and about which you want more information. This will help you prioritize those vendors who are a “must-see” on your list.

Consider all the projects you’d like to complete and services you will need in the coming year. Determine which vendors will help you reach those goals. Prepare a series of questions for each of those vendors, and carry a notepad and writing utensil so you don’t have to rely on your memory. Your brain is going to be jam-packed with new information after visiting the home show.

Be prepared to answer vendors’ questions as well. Have ready any pertinent information about your planned projects, such as measurements and desired materials. What is your budget? Can some materials you’re already using be re-used or re-purposed? What needs to be replaced or upgraded? Sometimes, photographs can be helpful when explaining your needs to home show vendors. Preparation at home will make your home show tour more enjoyable and productive.

When you arrive at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, you’ll find that admission is free once you’ve paid a $6 parking fee. You’ll be given a free tote bag containing The Union’s Event Guide and the Nevada County Contractors’ Association 2019 Guide to Building & Remodeling.

The Union’s Event Guide contains the schedule of the many how-to demonstrations at the home show, a list of vendors, and corresponding map. That guide will also be published as an insert in the daily newspaper on Thursday, April 11.

Our new Nevada County Contractors’ Association Guide has informational articles all about construction, from how to choose the right contractor to landscaping to remodeling and more. Our guide also lists contact information for all association members, many of whom will be at the home show. For example, visit Jake Gray at his Gray’s Customs booth showcasing his metal signs that are truly works of art. Check out Budget Blinds of Grass Valley’s booth, where owners Buckley and Laura Armacher will be promoting free in-home consultations for interior and exterior window covering products as well as home automation and motorization for those products.

The expo can be a competitive marketplace where you can save money. Many vendors offer discounts only available at the home show or proffered only to visitors at the show who schedule an appointment to occur within a limited time. Other money-saving opportunities can be found as vendors demonstrate and sell their “cash and carry” products, saving you shipping and handling or delivery costs.

Face-to-face interaction with industry experts is one of the most valuable components of any home show. So are the “freebies.” Why spend time filling out all those raffle drawing cards by hand? Bring with you a stack of your return address labels that you can stick on those cards and enter drawings hassle-free.

The focus of this year’s home show is fire safety, and there will be plenty of information about how to be fire-safe – even Smokey Bear will be there. There will also be children’s activities, live music, and festival food at the food court. There’s sure to be something for everyone in the family, and dogs on leashes are welcome.

Be prepared to do a lot of walking. Let’s say you want to learn about solar energy. The solar companies will not be grouped in one area; they’ll be spread all across the fairgrounds. Put yourself in the vendors’ shoes. You wouldn’t want your competitors’ booths right next to yours. Don’t worry. With the event guide’s handy map, you’ll locate the vendors you want to visit. And consider this: if you walk both the fairgrounds’ inner and outer circular paths, you’ll have put in 2,000 steps. So remember to wear comfortable shoes.

You’re guaranteed to see trendy tools, hands-on displays, cutting-edge products, and fabulous features at The Union newspaper’s 34th Annual Home, Garden, and Lifestyle Show. I’ll be there much of the weekend, so please stop by our Nevada County Contractors’ Association booth and say hello.

Barbara Bashall writes a monthly column for The Union. She is the executive director of the Nevada County Contractors’ Association, a nonprofit group of 320 general contractors, sub-contractors, building material suppliers, and other construction professionals whose mission is to promote high standards, integrity, and ethical practices within the construction industry. Visit or call 530-274-1919. Freelance writer Lorraine Jewett contributed to this column.

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