- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Great Big Home and Leisure Show, a Waldorf fixture since it began five years ago, will now be free to all.
Karen Berry and Eddie Kloiber, the organizers of the show, decided to do away with admission fees for the first time to encourage as many people as possible to take a look around, they said. People who venture into the Capital Clubhouse from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 9 or 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 10 can peruse more than displays erected by every type of home improvement contractor, from landscapers to closet organizers to glaziers.
Even people who aren’t planning projects should make time to come by, to get a “good gut feeling” about tradesmen, instead of picking one out of the phone book, should a homeowner find himself needing help, said Kloiber, who also owns Empire Graphics in Waldorf.
“The biggest thing is to come out. You can learn and get educated on different products and materials. Not everyone who comes is ready to buy at this moment, but it gets you in front of contractors to see who they are. A lot of times you see them running around in their trucks and stuff but [don’t know] anything else about them,” he said.
And some people don’t know they’re in the market until they see something they can’t live without, he added.
“You never know. There might be something there you never thought [about] and you’d be anxious to buy. There’s so many vendors. They all bring different stuff, and it’s different every time,” he said.
One of the most striking displays will belong to Tri-County Hearth and Patio Center, which will “turn the little space, the floor of the Clubhouse, almost into a backyard. This year we’re highlighting grills and outdoor fire pits, as well as seating groups,” said the company’s operations manager, Melissa Ball.
The word “leisure” isn’t in the show’s name by accident, either, as the show also features attractions for people who are not yearning for granite countertops or a new walkway. Kids can amuse themselves with the regular amenities of the Capital Clubhouse, including ice skating, while displays will showcase vacation destinations, jewelry, cars and other sources of fun, Berry said.
In other years, the show has brought in the celebrities of the home improvement world, including Ahmed Hassan, host of “Yard Crashers,” and Jeff Devlin of the DIY Network. But this year the entertainment will cater to sports fans. Retired Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, offensive tackle Chris Samuels and running back Brian Mitchell will shoot the breeze and sign autographs for attendees. Joining them will the team’s unofficial mascot, Chief Zee, known for attending Skins games since the 1970s in faux-Indian garb, including a feather headdress and toy tomahawk.
Local enthusiasm for the team runs high because they recently made the playoffs, Berry said.
“We put our focus toward our local heroes which played so well in football. … Also [the Redskins] were very successful. I guess what we’re doing is, every show has been very successful, and with them being in the playoffs, it was the right timing. If they had gone to the Super Bowl, which I thought they were going to do, that would have been awesome, if they had won the Super Bowl and then been in our show. I’m so proud of them. I really think they would be embraced by the community,” Berry said.
The show has been so successful in Waldorf that Berry and Kloiber, who together own the company Ultimate Consumer Tradeshows, believe it’s ripe for expansion. They’re organizing a second one, Aug. 10 and 11 in Hollywood, to cater to homeowners and contractors who don’t want to make the drive this weekend.
“There’s a lot of people that are really deep Leonardtown. They still won’t come to Waldorf. We’re just trying to cover that territory. There’s a lot of awesome businesses in Hollywood. I think that would be a nice opportunity to highlight those businesses,” Berry said.