The Chamber’s annual Home, Garden and Lifestyle Show traditionally welcomes spring and home improvement season. The popular April show has drawn families to the Bedford County Fairgrounds for more than two decades, exploring local goods and services for their next home or backyard project.
This year, the show is taking place Saturday and Sunday, August 28-29, due to the pandemic gathering restrictions in place earlier in the year. Show organizers say that the 2021 edition of the home show was not only delayed by the pandemic, but it also reflects the changes in the way we live as a result of the challenges of the past year.
“For the last 18 months, our homes have become places of business and children’s schools,” said Chamber President-CEO Kellie Goodman Shaffer. “Add to that, expensive vacations being canceled by travel restrictions and stimulus checks hitting back accounts ... millions of Americans had the means and the opportunity to improve the place where they live.”
The pandemic has also impacted local real estate, creating challenges and opportunities for those looking to buy or sell a home. Local realtors report an ongoing “sellers’ market,” with low inventory and higher prices, prompting some to consider retiring to communities like Homewood at Spring House Estates.
“We have definitely found that we have an increase in interest in our cottages,” said Mary College, executive director of Homewood, a presenting partner of the Chamber’s Home Show. “Some people who thought they’d wait four or five years before considering a retirement community realize that they can sell their homes for more now, and then they get here and realize that Homewood is an active group.”
Another pandemic trend has been an appreciation of the outdoors. State parks reported record usage in 2020, while campers, bicycles and kayaks flew out of showrooms, along with rifles, fishing rods and sporting goods.
“Traveling to different places, I can say that the pandemic has led to a resurgence of people getting into hunting,” said Mike Scott, an avid hunter and brand representative for Bear Archery and Scentlock, who is presenting a seminar during the Home, Garden Lifestyle and Outdoors Show this weekend. “People have more time and I think they want to be prepared to hunt their own food, and that’s led to a huge influx of new people getting into hunting. You can see it in the license sales and products being purchased.”
“Since last spring, we’ve seen an increase in people wanting to get outside and they’re going camping,” added Chris Watson, general manager of East Coast RV’s, who will be exhibiting at this weekend’s show. “From May to August of 2020 alone, we sold about two-thirds of our inventory ... even sales of our smaller RV’s that are light enough, they can be towed by smaller vehicles.”
“We find that many of our residents (at Homewood at Spring House Estates) enjoy the outdoors,” added Colledge. “People like to fish in our pond, walk around our campus, golf on local courses. Bedford County is a great place to retire if you’re active and like to be outside.”
Guests of the Home, Garden, Lifestyle and Outdoors Show will have the opportunity to explore outdoor activities, products and strategies at the Home, Garden, Lifestyle and Outdoors Show, presented by Homewood and Juniata Trading Co.
Guests will also enjoy live music on the State Farm stage, sponsored by agents Matt Ranall and Michael Meehan; children’s activities at the Hyndman and Bedford Family Health Center Kids Corner; a John Deere Show by West Central Equipment and UVT Show by Stoneham’s Motorsports.
Admission to the show is free, along with all of the educational programs. The show is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Look for the official event program in Friday’s edition of the Bedford Gazette, and learn more on the Chamber website: BedfordCountyChamber.com.