At the end of the month, a semi will dump 20 tons of sand inside the Memorial Coliseum. That’s 40,000 pounds of sand, right in the middle of the building. Within a matter of days, sand sculptor Ted Siebert will transform that massive pile into a work of art.
“It’s going to be called the Gnome and Garden Show,” Siebert explained. “I haven’t put it on paper yet, but I think I’m going to do a gnome directing a chorus of sunflowers singing or something along those lines.”
Siebert will build the sculpture while the audience watches, explaining his techniques and sharing some tips for amateurs who want to learn how to create their own masterpieces. He actually wrote a book about the art form about 25 years ago, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps. Now, he makes a living by traveling around the country and sharing his passion with others.
He’s just one attraction that’s new this year at the Fort Wayne Home & Garden Show at the Coliseum Feb. 28 through Mar. 3.
Hundreds of exhibitors
More than 650 exhibitors will show off the newest products for your home and garden.
“It runs the gamut,” said organizer Karen Tejera, who runs the show with her daughter Becky Williamson. “Landscaping, flowers, plants, new flooring, organizing your garage, it’s incredible what is out there in the market.
“The really nice thing is we have so many new exhibitors every year that I’ve never heard of because they haven’t advertised yet or they’re just getting started. This is a good way to get their product out in front of all these people coming in, so the public has an opportunity to be one of the first ones to see these new products.”
Tejera has been running the Home & Garden Show for more than 30 years. Her father started it in 1973 and her daughter, Becky Williamson, has joined the family business. They work hard to bring in new attractions that will appeal to people who are attending for the first time as well as those who return year after year.
In addition to the sand sculpting, also new this year is a Frisbee and Trick Dog Show by Elite Performance K9s. Owner Christina Curtis started training dogs that she rescued from shelters or other unwanted situations.
“Some dogs catch on really quickly. We look for the high-energy, high-drive dogs that already chase stuff. I think one thing people don’t realize is you have to desensitize them to noises, umbrellas, cameras, all that good stuff,” Curtis said. “We use all reward-based training. We want to have an awesome bond with our dogs and so we treat them with respect, and we want them to have fun, too. In the show sometimes people will see that the dogs do their own thing and we’re okay with that because we want them to be happy, too.”
The dog shows will take place at various times throughout the four days. Check home-gardenshow.com for more.
Ready for spring
The Garden Gallery is one of the most popular spaces at the show each year, with lots of fragrant flowers and lush green plants. Master Gardener seminars will take place throughout the show, including an appearance by Jo Ellen Meyers Sharps, whose weekly Hoosier Gardener column has been running in The Indianapolis Star since 1989.
“I’m doing two programs. One is a demonstration on some tips and techniques and plants you can use in a Spring container. I will have live plants with me for that as well as accessories. The other one will be about attracting and supporting pollinators in your garden,” Meyers Sharps said. “That is something that’s top of mind for a lot of consumers whether they’re gardeners or not. Everybody’s worried about honeybees and monarchs, but there are lots of other pollinators including birds and beetles and little tiny wasps.”
Organizers say there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer, a wannabe chef, or have a not-so-green thumb. There’s even a Family Fun Area designed just for kids that features interactive displays, face painting, balloons, a petting zoo, and martial arts demonstrations.
“People are ready for it after a long winter,” Tejera said. “It’s warm inside. It’s 72 degrees so you don’t have to go running around outside shopping at 50 different places and you can comparison shop pretty easily during the show.
“It’s all in one place and you can touch it. All these people are there because they want to talk to you. You don’t have to buy, but it is available if you want to. If you just want to come in and get ideas and ask questions, it’s the perfect place to do it.”
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