No matter what the weather brings, spring will warm the Ocean City Convention Center when the ninth annual Home, Condominium and Garden Show opens here on March 26.
"Spring is in the air," said Mike Wicklein, president of Wick's Inc. and the founder, promoter and producer of the show. "It's time to spruce up, clean up and fix up. This show is a great place for new ideas and bargains. And for anybody who's interested in the Ocean City area or owns a condo or a home here, this is a show you don't want to miss."
Exhibitors on the upper level of the Convention Center will
feature a variety of products and services for the home, condo or garden. There will be displays of outdoor furniture, hot tubs, atriums, storage buildings, carpet, appliances, kitchen cabinets, mulch, greenhouses, home furnishings and even futons -- thin mattresses placed on the floor for use as beds.
"If you own a rental condo in Ocean City and you're in the market for carpeting, a picture for the wall in the dining room and a lamp in the bedroom, you can come to the show instead of running to three different places," Mr. Wicklein said. "But you don't have to own a condo here to enjoy the show. Ocean City is a great place to visit at the end of March."
It may be too early for sunbathing on the beach, but if you need new windows and doors installed or are looking for a heating, air-conditioning or plumbing contractor to do some repairs or upgrades, the Convention Center at Ocean City just might be the place to be. If you want a Realtor to help you buy a new condo, exhibitors offering this and many more services will have booths at the show.
And in addition to all of the products and services on exhibit, there will be lots of other goings on: an arts and crafts fair, an art show, healthy cooking demonstrations, door prizes and live entertainment.
Puppetry performances for children will be presented throughout the weekend by local artist Jim Starck, who will bring a bit of Ocean City's Eastern Shore flavor to the show.
Mr. Starck, who is also known as The Puppet Man, can often be seen on the boardwalk during the summer months with puppets E. T., Troll, Ghost, Gizmo, Spike and Clancy the Roller Skating Monkey.
These are just a few of the "very realistic creatures" in his collection of 40 or so puppets and marionettes, which also includes a Komodo dragon lizard, a praying mantis and an extinct reptilian, the archaeopteryx, Mr. Starck said.
These puppet shows add to the festive atmosphere that attracts people to the show, said Delmarva peninsula area landscaper and exhibitor George Kemp.
"The visitors get a little bit of a carnival," said Mr. Kemp, general manager of JND Co. Inc., a professional landscape and irrigation firm in Princess Anne. "It's a boardwalk kind of a thing . . . and it's a nice afternoon's entertainment."
JND will feature a garden display with large trees, junipers, colorful annuals, a fountain and a garden fence. Mr. Kemp said he participates in the show because he enjoys meeting people and welcomes the opportunity to advertise his work and interact with a variety of tradesmen.
"I get a kick out of doing it," Mr. Kemp said. "It's the only show I do all year long. It's a chance to get together and I have formed a lot of good friendships at the show."
Village Greens Landscape and Garden Center of West Ocean City will also present a living garden display with trees, shrubs and assorted flowers. The company specializes in customized gardens, from formal to cottage to beach, said Debbie Rogers, ** one of the partners in the firm.
Fellow exhibitor Nadine Jackson, owner of Jackson Floral Design, will brighten her booth with a colorful display filled with samples of silk flower arrangements, plants and trees from her Pittsville shop and showroom. Her products can be used inside homes, condominiums and restaurants, she said.
"I do what I call interior plantscaping," Mrs. Jackson said. "I go into the home like an interior designer does, but I work with plants and flowers. It's more of an art form when you work with silk flowers and plants. They grace the home and soften areas of furniture and mirrors."
Mrs. Jackson's business is located in a Victorian building, which stands in the middle of a 6-acre field east of Salisbury. This showroom dates to the 1860s and was moved to the property from a location several blocks away after it was condemned. The second floor of the relocated and now restored Victorian building is used for flower arranging classes and garden club lectures.
The Home, Condominium and Garden Show will also feature an arts and crafts fair on the lower level of the convention center. Local and regional artists and craftspeople will exhibit works ranging from wildlife art to handmade earrings and copper weather vanes.
And on the Convention Center stage, there will be an exhibition by the Art League of Ocean City. Dozens of local artists will show and sell original watercolors, oils and acrylics at prices ranging from $40 to $500.
What: Home, Condominium and Garden Show and the Arts and Crafts Fair.
When: 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 26; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 27; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 28.
Where: Ocean City Convention Center, Coastal Highway and 40th Street.
Cost: Admission is $4 for adults and children 12 and older. Children under 12 will be admitted free. Discount coupons are available in local publications.