The West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association Home Show is more than a harbinger of spring.
It's a chance for area residents to shake off the chill of winter and start planning for those home improvement and related projects. Area political leaders were on hand for the ribbon-cutting, opening ceremonies for the three-day event at the Lycoming College Recreation Center.
"We have a lot of small businesses in the community," said state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport. "It's a chance for them to get some exposure."
Gary Hilfiger, of Gary Hilfiger Wood Carving, Troy, works on an owl at the West Branch Susquehanna Builder’s Association’s Home Show at Lycoming College Friday.
More than 160 exhibitors are on hand this weekend. They include businesses such as Guild's TV Sales & Service, 1350 W. Fourth St., Williamsport.
"It's just an opportunity to connect with the customers," said business owner Jim Guild. "And you reconnect with existing customers."
Walt Nyman, co-executive officer of the event, said last year's event drew between 3,200 and 3,300 people. He felt the warmer than normal weather probably kept more people from attending the indoor event in 2012.
IF YOU GO:
WHO: West Branch Builders
WHAT: 2013 Home Show
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Lycoming College Rec Center
"We have done as much as 5,500 people," he said.
But he was quick to add that high attendance figure likely occurred when the event stretched to four days. Nyman said holding the event at Lycoming College during the school's spring break works out well.
"Otherwise, you couldn't compete for parking spaces," he explained.
The Home Show kicked off at 3 p.m. Friday, but even before the doors were opened, a long line of people could be seen waiting to get inside.
"It think it's just a great asset to the area," state Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, said of the event.
Yaw noted that in the years before the local area held a home show, many people traveled to Harrisburg or elsewhere for such events.
"It goes to show we have some sophisticated contractors right here in the Susquehanna Valley," he said.
In addition to home builders, the vendors were represented by such businesses and services as plumbing and heating, banks, architectural firms, lawn services, and others.
"It means spring is just around the corner," said Charley Hall, an aide to state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, who was unable to attend the ribbon cutting.
Hall said the Home Show is a place where customers can go to one place and find many of the things they need for home building, improvement and related services. In addition, it allows vendors to show off their products.
"Plus, it's even fun," added Yaw.
The lawmaker chuckled that he may have to stop by later in the weekend to do some shopping.
Hours for the Home Show are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $4. Patrons can get $1 off the admission price with a donation of canned goods.