MARQUETTE - It may be a week later than usual, but what organizers call the biggest and best builders show in northern Michigan is back town Friday through Sunday.
The U.P. Builders Show is held every March at Northern Michigan University's Superior Dome, but this year it's being staged a week later than usual.
"The Builders Show this year has moved to the second weekend of March to coincide with NMU's spring break week," said expo organizer Marlene Ombrello of the Upper Peninsula Builders Exchange. "Because the show is so huge, the entire week is needed to set up for the show."
The kickoff of a recent U.P. Builders Show at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome. The event, billed as the biggest and best show in the Upper Peninsula, features a wide array of home improvement vendors from across the region. (Journal file photo)
As of last week, there were more than 25 new exhibitors - for a total of 140 - signed up for the show.
Now in its 38th year, the expo offers vendors of all things house and home-related a chance to show off their services and products to an audience of 8,000-10,000 visitors annually.
While there may be a few fewer booths this year, there's a healthy variety of vendors, Ombrello said.
"There are 230 booths filled this year which is slightly down from last year, but the variety of booths
is outstanding," she said, "There are many more energy savings booths, so the trend toward energy efficiency continues into the new decade."
Here are a sampling of those alternative energy and energy conservation booths:
- Booth A008 U.P. Sustainable Solar of Bark River
- Booth A012 State of Michigan Healthy Homes of Lansing
- Booth A068 Michigan Energy Options of Marquette
- Booth A123-124 Home Evaluation Services of Marquette
- Booth D404a Lake Effect Energy Corporation of Harbor Springs
- Booth A165 Suburb Solar Inc. of Cooks
- Booth A180 Efficiency United of Marquette
- Booth A184 Dawn to Dusk Solar Solutions
Carpet Specialists of Ishpeming and Marquette will be the Center Booth Attraction at this year's show. Showgoers can stop at their booth and try to win some cash in their "Catch Cash" machine.
Another major attraction will be at the booth for Swick Plumbing and Heating of Marquette, where they will be collecting votes for their ongoing "Ugly Ol' Furnace" contest, Ombrello said,
Major sponsors of this year's Builders Show are Charter Media, The Mining Journal (booth A089) and Eagle Radio The Point & The Bay (in booths A058-059).
Continuing the expo's tradition of charitable giving, two local nonprofits have been invited to participate in this year's Builders Show. Marquette Builders Exchange has invited Child & Family Services of the Upper Peninsula to be their charity. CFSUP will be selling raffle tickets for a 2012 Chevy Sonic which will be on display at the show. The drawing will be held at the Seafood Fest at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette Aug. 25 at 7 p.m.
The Upper Peninsula Builders Association has invited the Room at the Inn of Marquette. Room at
the Inn is an emergency night shelter for adults and involves thirteen different hosting churches in
the Marquette area which provide food and shelter for homeless Marquette area residents.
Donations and volunteer opportunities will be accepted by both charities.
The weekend will also be full of exhibitor activities, demos and specialty booth attractions, according to Ombrello.
Got a craving for sweets? American of Marquette and Cabinet Concepts, in booths A094-095, will offer fresh baked bookies throughout the weekend. Americraft Waterless Cookware, setting up in booth C312 , offers cooking demonstrations every two hours throughout the weekend.
Looking for something more artistic? Una Dulce Ltd. of Champion, in booth A098, will present a demo, "Hand Painted Murals Watch a Scene Come to Life," on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 3 p.m.
Swick Plumbing & Heating of Marquette, in booths C309 & A179, is running the "Ugly Ol' Furnace" contest throughout the weekend. Vote for the ugliest old furnace in the U.P., with the winner receiving $6,000 toward a new heating system. There are plenty of other opportunities to win prizes at the annual Builders Show:
And don't forget the major door prizes at the show. The show organizers and Best Buy of Marquette are giving away a 32" flat screen TV, a $300 value. Artist Dan Cook of Marquette is giving away a painting valued at $300. Home Evaluation Services of Marquette is offering a $300 Home Energy Audit as a door prize, while Spotless Spaces LLC of Marquette will give away top-to-bottom one-time house cleaning - a $250.00 value. Schwalbach Kitchen Specialists of Marquette is sweetening the door prize pot with a $330 Delta kitchen faucet.
As usual, there will be plenty for kids to do while their parents check out the booths and demonstrations.
Free entertainment for children will be provided by Abra Cadabra Inflatables of Gladstone. Kids can also have their faces painted by volunteers from Child & Family Services of the U.P.
Show hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults and children 13 and over, $2 for senior citizens 65 and over, $1 for children 6 to 12 and free for kids 5 and under.