Home show adds entertainment

Builders look to increased attendance with new site, free admission

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2002

To get the most out of the 60 booths at the 25th annual Juneau Home Show, visitors will need comfortable walking shoes - and a notebook to keep track of all the latest construction and remodeling ideas.

The Home Builders Association of Juneau has moved the show from Centennial Hall to the Mendenhall Center, which organizers said offers them more flexibility.

"The blend of homebuilders and Mendenhall merchants will give a different flavor to the show," said Home Builders executive officer Susan Ogden.

The free show, with the theme, "Your Home: An American Classic," begins 3 to 8 p.m. Friday and continues 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The theme is being interpreted broadly, said Carolyn Cameron of Cameron Plumbing, who is helping Ogden organize the show.

"We are having an antique appraisal fair. Everybody is feeling patriotic (because of Sept. 11), so anything that deals with American heritage is popular," she said. "The theme gives the vendors a chance to interpret; it gives them room to play."

In past years, the home show has averaged an attendance of 2,500. Browsers are "a combination of people who are remodeling or doing home planning or construction," Ogden said. This year, they'll see the latest in home furnishings, carpet, faucets, Fiberglass-insulated door systems, audio equipment, countertops, rain gutters, geothermal heat pumps, wind and solar generating systems, soapstone fireplaces, cabinets and more. Realtors, equipment renters, contractors and bankers will be available for chats.

Andrew Hohenthaner, sales manager for Sears, will display major appliances with Energy/Guide labels. The labels help homeowners understand the ongoing cost of operating an appliance and enable them to compare energy use among brands. Alaska Electric Light & Power and Sears will team up to showcase Energy Star models, and, for a limited time, $50 rebates will be offered toward their purchase.

Color is part of appliance appeal, too. Consider a bisque washing machine or a granite dryer. Appliances can be special ordered in colors such as scarlet and cobalt blue, Hohenthaner said.

"People plan for a long time," Cameron said. "They may come for two or three years before they break ground. Other people just come to look. It's entertainment for them."

For antique lovers, four appraisers from the Lower 48 will staff the Antique Appraisal Fair and give "verbal estimates" of value.

Don Jensen, a former U.S. Navy pilot, is coming from Edmonds, Wash. A glass appraiser for the Antiques Roadshow television program for six years, Jensen will provide values for glass, furniture and silver. Gemologist Susan Bickford of San Francisco is an expert in fine jewelry. Museum management consultant Sara Conklin of San Francisco specializes in maritime items, Eskimo ivory and Inuit sculpture. Conklin has appraised items from Spanish galleon artifacts to horse-drawn wagons. Kitty Victor of Seattle appraises Victorian jewelry, toys, textiles and prints.

Residents are limited to three items, which must be "small enough to carry in," Ogden said. The verbal appraisal for the first item is $5. Each additional item is $3. (Odgen makes clear that the verbal appraisal differs from a written appraisal, which involves research and can be used to support an insurance policy.)

Hours for the appraisal fair are 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Carolyn Cameron is in charge of a new element in the show this year, "Tales, Tunes and Tricks," entertainment for children of elementary school age. For $1, children can see Dawn Pisel-Davis enact her masked clown character, ClaraBella. Professional storyteller Jim Stey will share Native tales and American folklore such as the story of Johnny Appleseed, while his wife, musician Martha Scott-Stey, will perform American music. "Alaska's Minister of Merriment" Jeff Brown will perform magic tricks. Children must be accompanied by an adult. There are two shows daily on Saturday and Sunday, at 1 and 3 p.m.

"Everything has an American twist," Cameron said.

"We are really excited to produce something with a different style," Ogden said.

Assembling on-site showrooms displaying full kitchens and living areas is a challenge for vendors, Cameron said. "Over the last few years there has been more creativity and more secrecy and playfulness. Vendors are obviously having more fun with it," she said.

The show will also feature a raffle of two wheelbarrows filled with products and services worth more than $500. For more, see the Web page at www.hbajuneau.com.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.

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