60th annual Home Show set in motion, continues today

By MARK MARONEY

mmaroney@sungazette.com

The excitement was palpable inside and outside the Keiper Recreation Center at Lycoming College on Friday afternoon.

It was just about time for the doors to open for the 60th annual West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association Home Show. The line of people waiting to get inside was growing for the show, which began at 3 p.m.

Outside temperatures were approaching 70 degrees and the annual rite of spring for many in the area was about to start.

The line stretched back to the college parking lots.

First in line, Steve Tarr and James Sitnor, his grandfather, said they eagerly awaited all of the sights and sounds and, of course, dozens of “freebies,” exhibitors and the show organizers offer.

A woman waiting said she was looking to do over her kitchen.

“Not the whole thing, just putting lipstick on a pig,” she said.

The clear blue sky, puffy white clouds and warmth had those waiting for up to 1 hour fine with it.

Inside, along with some in the side lots outside, were about 153 vendors, according to the list provided by organizers.

But the traditional ceremonial opening took place first.

One-by-one state lawmakers and Lycoming County commissioners walked in and gathered in the lobby.

There they were greeted by Jeffrey Bennett, vice president of the college, as host for the three-day event.

Carroll Pawlikowski, executive officer of the West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association, said such strong support from legislators and commissioners is vital. The show has become helpful to the area economy.

Pawlikowski was joined by Randy Williamson, association president, and James Hoffman, association first vice president, among others in the association and affiliated with the home show and National Association of Home Builders.

Hoffman said the efforts of Williamsport Area High School students and presence of state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township; state Rep. Jeff Wheeland, R-Loyalsock Township, and Lycoming County Commissioners Tony Mussare, Jack McKernan and Rick Mirabito are indicative of the importance of the event from a local and regional perspective.

The lawmakers and commissioners then used a giant scissor to cut a navy blue and yellow ribbon (same colors as Lycoming College but not on purpose) and cut it to set in motion the show.

Also part of the opening ceremonies was the presentation of a $1,000 check for a “Virtual Food Drive” given to the Central Pennsylvania Foodbank.

It is a financial gift that guarantees purchase of 6,000 meals for hungry veterans, senior citizens and youths, said Carla Fisher, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank communications and marketing coordinator.

The show, which runs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday., has a lower and upper level floor indoors and out of the elements along with some side exhibits outside.

It serves as an annual rite of spring for the multitudes who attend, Pawlikowski said.

The 153 vendors are expected to draw significant crowds of thousands throughout today and Sunday, she said.