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Home and Garden Show Planners Have a Win-win Attitude

The theme of this year’s Western Mass. Home and Garden show is ‘Springboard to Achieving Your Dreams,’ and that name speaks not only to the emphasis on ideas for property improvement, but also to a wide array of prizes available to attendees this year, among them a $6,000 rent or mortgage stipend that could be just the boost many area residents need to reach their goals.

Tina Smith, sales director for the Home Builders Assoc. of Western Mass. (HBAWM), which has organized and sponsored the show for 53 years, said the raffle prize will be paid in monthly installments of $500 per month to the winner. She said it’s just one example of the kind of draw the association tries to create for the home show each year — the promise of ideas and resources that address real needs, and can offer a leg up.

“We always have prizes, but this year I’d say we have quite a bit,” she said. “And the grand prize in particular was designed to appeal to consumers in the midst of the mortgage crisis.”

Beyond that, the prize is part of a larger contest that will offer a number of items donated by the show’s vendors, all valued at $100 or more, such as rugs, tools, and services. Attendees will be given a ‘game card’ that can be stamped at a number of booths throughout the show, and later entered into the raffle.

Smith said the system was devised to encourage visitors to the show to take in all it has to offer — specifically, 350 vendors staffing 800 booths spread across three acres at the Eastern States Exposition grounds.

“We’re trying to reinforce how big the show actually is,” said Smith, noting that as of last year, it was ranked the seventh-largest home and garden show in the country, and has long been New England’s largest and oldest.

Further, the show will include a wide array of home improvement, gardening, landscaping, and interior design showcases, such as an expansive flower and garden display in the Stroh Building featuring waterscapes and floral exhibits. The Sherwin Williams Design Showcase will surround the garden displays, offering new trends in furniture and home décor, and the ReStore Home Improvement Center will hold a tent sale in an outdoor exhibiting area, selling surplus and used building materials including cabinets, doors, and windows.

Finally, Smith said the HBAWM will again staff its ‘Ask the Experts’ booth, offering answers to home improvement questions, referrals, and copies of the association’s 2008/2009 Consumers’ Guide to the Home Building and Remodeling Industry.

If that doesn’t whet the home-improvement appetite, though, there are even more prizes to be had, including a $10,000 kitchen makeover, Red Sox tickets (raffled by Clear Channel Radio to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital), a flat-screen television from Manny’s TV and Appliance, and an overnight trip to New York City to view a live taping of The Rachael Ray Show donated by WGGB ABC40, with transportation provided by Peter Pan Bus Lines and accommodations at the Hilton Garden Inn.

“We always say the home show is an excellent place to get ideas, but now, it’s not a bad place to win some nice things,” said Smith, adding that families are encouraged to attend the show, and attractions for attendees of all ages will be available throughout the weekend.

WMAS radio will be sponsoring a local ‘celebrity chef’ cooking demonstration, for example, and for the young at heart, the Springfield Falcons’ mascot, Screech, will appear Thursday evening, while Fenway’s own Wally the Green Monster will visit on Sunday. In addition, the HBAWM’s own mascot, Hooter the Owl, will be on hand along with the Shriners’ clowns throughout the event.

The Western Mass. Home and Garden Show will kick off on Thursday, March 27 and continue through Sunday, March 30. Tickets are $10 each or $9 for senior citizens age 60 and over; $3 discount coupons are also available via the home show’s Web site,

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