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19th annual business showcase this weekend at fairgrounds

April 28, 2014

George Batchelder of Batchelder Enterprises in Bishop is a loyal Home Show participant, in attendance each year to introduce his fire protection, warm-air heating, ventilating and air-conditioning, and plumbing services to homeowners. Photo courtesy OVCVA

Area residents will get the opportunity to check out what’s new in the Eastern Sierra when the Home, Garden and Recreation Show opens Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. at the Tri-County Fairgrounds.
This is the 19th year local businesses will have their wares on display, and the third year the show has been sponsored by the Owens Valley Contractors and Vendors Association. The show is just one of the attractions at the fairgrounds this weekend, which will be bustling with the Choo Choo Swap Meet and Gem and Mineral Show as well.
The Charles Brown Auditorium serves as the headquarters of the show, with additional booths and food vendors, Copper Top, Rudy’s Mad Dog and the Snow Shack, set up on the fairgrounds lawn with mini-seminars on topics ranging from gardening tips to home safety running throughout the day in the Home Economics Building.
The Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau’s A Taste of the Sierra kicks off the show on Friday evening. “The Taste is always a fun party,” said April Leeson, event coordinator for the chamber. “We always get a good crowd. It’s a good way to jump start the show.”
For $25, tasters check in at the Charles Brown Auditorium, pick up their bracelets, which includes two bar drinks, and start sampling tasty treats from local eateries. Participants range from Sage and Convict Lake restaurants to Karma, Thai Thai and Astorga’s as well as Glass Onion catering, sweet treats from Erick Schat’s Bakkery, barbecue and coffee and beer brews.
“People can start here,” said Leeson, “cruise the show and come back for more” until 9 p.m. when the show closes for the day. The tasting is limitless.
The show opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning with the flag raising at 9:30 a.m. “We’re having a pretty special flag ceremony,” said OVCVA founder and past president Dan Stone.
“The flag is a 48-star flag brought back from the South Pacific during World War II by Gale Helmbolt,” he explained.
Helmbolt’s family will be on hand and share stories of the late veteran who lived and worked in the Eastern Sierra. “We’ll be inviting members of the crowd to come forward and recognize their family members who served in the military,” said Stone.
One of this year’s Home, Garden and Recreation Show highlights should be the Bishop Waste booth set up on the lawn: a dunk tank. General Manager Rick Vahl wanted something that would not only leave a lasting impression on those in attendance but also raise funds for the Bishop and Mammoth high schools’ woodshop programs. “We’ve got both high school principals, Randy Cook from Bishop and Chris Powell from Mammoth, signed up,” he said in a phone interview last Friday. “Todd Lembke (New Cali Landscape) and John Nyland (California Highway Patrol) have also signed up. We’re still recruiting.”
The dunkees will suit up by 11 a.m., hoping for a warm day, and hit the water until 3 p.m. providing lots of opportunities to raise funds for the school programs.
Another new wrinkle this year will be off-road enthusiasts promoting the new Adventure Trail system. “We’ll have a variety of OHVs parked on the north side of the Lions booth,” Stone said. “This is a chance for locals to learn about the work that’s been done on the program and to see this trail system is designed as a family activity.”
Stone ran through the list of displays on hand for the show. “We’ve got contractors and builders,” he said, “several real estate companies, a flooring specialist who’s new this year, a couple of businesses that design and build furniture, spa and health products, Bishop Nursery and heating and air conditioning businesses. Fendon’s Furniture always does a great job. High Country Lumber has something special planned.” In other words, a strong representation of local home, garden and recreation businesses.
With roughly 1,200 square feet of display space in the auditorium, Fendon’s will be highlighting its line of Tempur-Pedic mattresses, Ashley, Broyhill and La-Z Boy furniture lines. “We’ll have the latest styles on hand,” said Randy Fendon, “and our sales staff will be there as well.” Home show attendees will have a chance to rest their feet and try out the mattresses and recliners. Fendon’s will also have a La-Z Boy recliner in the show’s silent auction.
Another long-time show vendor, Aerohead Cycles, be on hand. “We’re not necessarily there to sell,” said owner Brian Nelson, “we’ll be there to talk to the folks who come by.” Aerohead will have three bikes in the silent auction, a Navajo Cruiser, a BMX and what Nelson described as a “comfort bike.”
According to Stone, “the best part of the whole show” could be the watermelon and pie eating contests on Saturday afternoon.

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