By Melinda Lavine, Duluth News Tribune
The gardener, the builder, the Disney character wannabe. There’s something for everyone at the Arrowhead Home and Builder Show.
The annual event that brings hundreds of vendors to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center started on Wednesday and runs through Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for ages 6-17, free for ages 5 and younger. And be warned: They only take cash.
A quick walkthrough yields stands for masons, a butter churner, landscapers and sauna makers. There are log homes, bikes and life jackets. And stuff for inside the home (and the tummy). Offerings in cosmetics, essential oils, cookware, fudge and almonds.
Some vendors will reel you in with candy, some shake bags of it at you to get your attention. You may even get talked into a sitting in a Total Comfort Swing. And the booths stretch on and on into side rooms.
Tip: The event map is your friend, and taking note of surroundings upon entering a new room is as good as a breadcrumb trail.
The show covers two floors in the DECC. Upstairs, there are dedicated areas to presenters.
Dr. Lori Verderame of the Discovery channel’s “Auction Kings” went live Wednesday night to a modest crowd. She “diagnosed” a small metal hook that was purchased from an auction.
“How much do you think it’s worth?”
“How did you search?”
“Why is eBay the only place you’d look?”
Verderame educated during her appraisal, giving the history and the background of the phrase “breaking the bank.” She added: “Do not rely on online auctions as your appraiser,” before deeming the hook a replica worth about $10.
Sue Brewer and Nancy Hakala both of Duluth had items appraised by Verderame on Wednesday.
For Hakala, it was two St. Christopher medals that her uncle had from World War II; Brewer had an heirloom piece of jewelry. “I didn’t say anything about it, and she immediately saw it was a Tiffany ring,” she said.
The two have been “making a day” out of the event for more than 10 years. On Wednesday, Brewer was on the hunt for a new kitchen window, and she picked up information on composting from WLSSD. Hakala’s tips for the home show are “Wear good shoes, and bring a pen.”
Deb and Randy Else from Superior were looking for a new door to connect the garage to the house. “It has to be a fire door because of the gasoline and lawnmowers and cars in the garage,” he said.
They’d been at the opening night event since it began at 5 p.m. “I drag him,” she said with a smile. Before heading out, they spoke highly of the pretzel dip assortment downstairs.
On the lower level, children laughed and bounced on inflatable loungers.
They can hold 400 pounds, said Danielle Dombrowski of Green Bay.
It was Dombrowski’s first home and builder show in Duluth, and her product had been a family favorite so far, she said.
Any parents leaving their kids?
“Sometimes, it happens,” she said.
For one vendor, when the show begins, it’s all business, but Tom Granlund of the Hot Tub Store in Duluth does make time to check out the booths as a consumer.
“I do that before we open. I got here at 3,” Granlund said.
It can be pricey to show at the event, but “it’s very good exposure. I see more people in the five days that I’m here than I do all year at the store,” he said.
Also on the first floor, you can step inside Parakeet Landing in Paulucci Hall and find Kevin Vogel, handler and “pooper scooper” of 300 birds. Vogel might hand you a popsicle stick with bird seed on it. Hold it steady, and birds in yellow, green, blue and white might chip away at it.
Vogel is with Safari North Wildlife Park in Brainerd, and he sees ages “2 to 82” visit the birds.
His tip for the space is to slide your feet because the parakeets like to sit on the ground. “I call it the parakeet shuffle. You don’t want to walk, so you don’t step on them,” he said.
Asked if they the birds have names, “They’re all Tweety.”
If you go
• What: Arrowhead Home & Builder Show
• When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
• Where: DECC, 350 Harbor Drive
• Price: $10 adults, $6 ages 6-17, free ages 5 and younger
• More info: homeshowmn.com
• Parking: decc.org/parking-directions