Home show celebrates its 25th year this weekend

Event features businesses that build, renovate, buy and sell homes

Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The Home Builders Association of Juneau conducts its 25th home show this weekend, before changing its name to the Southeast Alaska Building Industry Association.

"As soon as the show is over, we have a new name," said Jill Herrick, the executive officer for the organization.

The home show will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Centennial Hall. The show will feature more than 75 Juneau businesses associated with building, renovating, buying and selling homes.

Companies purchase space at the show for anywhere from $250 to $1,150. They'll pack the ballroom of Centennial Hall and two additional conference rooms, providing homeowners and would-be homeowners with information about the industry.

"I think it's a great educational opportunity for the public to come out and see some new materials, new methods, as well as meet potential builders," said Alan Wilson, president of the association and owner of Alaska Renovators.

When the Home Builders Association of Juneau first decided to hold a home show in 1979, the project involved the volunteer effort of all members, said Rita Hamilton, associate vice president of the organization. She served as chairwoman of the first home show and has the same role today.

"We were all kind of novices then so everybody kind of put it together," she said. "The builders built their own booths, and one of the members had a hangar, so we stored the booths there for the rest of the year."

In the early years of the home show, Juneau was in the middle of a home-building boom, Hamilton said. The home show was primarily for the organization's associate members, those who don't build but provide services to builders and home owners.

Member contractors showed off their skills in an annual parade of homes, during which the public could tour new homes in Juneau.

In recent years, not enough new homes have been built to merit a parade of homes, Hamilton said. The home show is the association's major public event for the year.

Admission to the show is $5 per person. Kids under 12 years old are free. Any profit goes back into the community, Wilson said.

"Most of our money is spent in two categories," he said. "One is just civic donations - the high school basketball team, a baseball team, we donate money to just about anybody who asks. The other big thing is our scholarship fund."

High school and college students can apply for scholarships to study any industry-related trade, and members of the organization can apply for continuing education grants, Wilson said.

The cost of admission to the show includes several informational seminars on borrowing money, interior design, kitchen remakes and city building codes.

Mike Musick of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks and Marquam George, a professor at the University of Alaska Southeast, will present a seminar on air quality in homes.

"It's called, 'Is Your House a Gas Chamber,' which is a little scary, but at least it will get people's attention," said Herrick.

• Christine Schmid can be reached at cschmid@juneauempire.com.

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