By Jill Keppeler
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — It’s been a long, gloomy Western New York winter ... but inside Gleam & Glimmer Glass Studio, owner Suzanne Todaro was working on a piece of spring.
In preparation for the studio’s first appearance at the upcoming Buffalo Home Show, set for Friday through March 9 and March 14 to 16 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, Todaro created two 11-by-32-inch stained glass panels to catch the eye, all greens and blues and iridescent dragonflies against a yellow sun. The booth in the Garden Market section of the show will also feature stained glass bird houses, dragonflies, butterflies, hummingbirds, bumblebees and other colorful items.
“We thought we’d give it a shot,” she said of the home show, which is marking its 70th year in 2014. “I’m excited.”
This years’s Buffalo Home Show will feature more than 280 exhibitors, from purveyors of art items such as Gleam & Glimmer to those who focus on construction, renovation, interior design, roofing, windows, kitchens, recreational items and more, as well as competitions, seminars and displays of many kinds. Many of the participants hail from the Niagara Region, from newcomers such as Gleam & Glimmer to relatively long-time exhibitors such as Frank’s Basement Systems and Alden Pools and Play.
Another newcomer to the show will be Lewiston artist and art therapist Katie Foley, who owns Creekside Art & Pottery.
“It’s probably the biggest show I’ve done,” said Foley, who also teaches art and pottery classes and also does custom work. “I’m nervously excited.
“You never know. ... At things like this, people are more coming for ideas. I’m hoping they’re still buying.”
Foley has been working on many different items for the show, including bird feeders, bird houses and herb and plant garden tiles, as well as more indoor items such as vases and vanity collections. Her work features a lot of bright, intense colors, she said, and she tries to make it both fun and functional.
“Hopefully it will make people smile, bring a little art into everyday,” she said. “I really try to make a lot of different things.
“It’s a lot of fun. Hopefully, I’ll reach a lot of people at the show.”
With the advent of spring, some vendors predict — or hope — that visitors to the show will have better weather on their minds (or, alternatively, be looking to clean up after an unpredictable winter).
This will be the fifth year that Recreational Warehouse of North Tonawanda has taken part in the show, said owner Walter Beaudet.
“We get a lot of customers; they have cabin fever ... especially for this year ... and they want to start thinking about spring,” he said. “Patio furniture, hot tubs, play systems for the kids.”
A lot of people look at awnings, Weber gas grills and pool safety fences this time of year, Beaudet said, and there are incentives to starting the season early at the home show.
“It’s been a long winter and people are looking forward to an early spring,” he said. “So for us, we look at it as the kickoff to our summer season.”
While some exhibitors focus on a home’s outside, however, others want visitors to get a look at what they can do on the inside.
Marie’s Sewing Center, located on Robinson Road in Lockport, will be participating in the home show for the first time this year, showing off a bit of high-tech equipment that might surprise passers-by on the show floor.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Don Walters, husband of Marie Walters, the owner of the store. “We’re been to (the show) a lot but this year is the first year we’ve exhibited. I’m looking forward to showing people what our machines can do.”
The center, an authorized top-tier dealer of Janome sewing machines, will be demonstrating the new Memory Craft 15000 model at the show, he said. The wireless-enabled machine can be connected to an iPad or other computer for delivery of design or remote monitoring.
“So you can actually start sewing, go out by the pool and watch what’s going on on your iPad,” Walters said. “It’s the only sewing machine that does that. it’s pretty remarkable.”
The family-run business has been open in Lockport since 1997, he said. “We have sewing machines from $119 to $4,999. We cover the gamut, but we only sell Janome.”
In additions to the exhibitors, the home show also features guests, seminars and displays. This year’s celebrity guest will be Kevin O’Connor, host of PBS’ “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House,” who will give presentations at 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday on storm-proofing homes for Buffalo winters. After each presentation, O’Connor will be signing autographs and giving away a Festool tool kit valued at $400.
Seven designers from the Interior Design Association of Buffalo will be taking part in this year’s White Room Challenge, in which they’re given an empty 12-by-12-foot room to decorate according to specific parameters (which this year include a single Hollywood-themed poster as inspiration). Visitors will be able to watch the transformation of the rooms starting about Tuesday on www.buffalohomeshow.com and walk through (and vote on) the finished rooms at the event.
Other contests and presenters will also be featured, included demonstrations by chefs from Niagara County Community College’s Niagara Falls Culinary Institute at 2 and 5 p.m. March 15 and 16. For schedules and more information, visit www.buffalohomeshow.com.
IF YOU GO
• WHAT: Buffalo Home Show
• WHEN:10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and March 14 and 15; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 9 and 16
• WHERE: Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin St., Buffalo
• TICKETS: Admission at the door is $10 for adults and $3 for children ages 6 to 12. Discount tickets are available online or at Tops Friendly Markets locations.
• FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.buffalohomeshow.com.