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metroHOME • Spring's Sprung

acres of home and garden ideas await those who visit the 45th annual omaha home & garden expo









Touch it. Experience it. Own it.

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From sod to stone and from scents to seedlings, the 45th Annual Omaha Home & Garden Expo offers a staggeringly “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” array of all that you can imagine when it comes to innovative home and garden solutions, services and products.

Wait a minute, though… there are also plenty of sinks to be found throughout the sprawling 200,000 square feet of space when 600 exhibitors greet you at the event (which has been an Omaha institution since 1967).

And that’s just the short list, one that doesn’t even require us to stray beyond ‘s’ in the alphabet.

Now combined with the Omaha Lawn, Flower & Patio Show, this traditional harbinger of spring (fingers crossed for a deep thaw) runs March 3 – 6 at Qwest Center-Omaha.

Beautifully landscaped gardens complete with water features will be surrounded by oceans of “oohs” and acres of “aahs” that will stir the imagination as you strategize for both indoor and outdoor spring projects.

Add to that non-stop entertainment, great food and big-name celebrity guests and The Expo signals an annual rite of passage when thoughts turn to the percussive pings of nail guns and the aroma of freshly turned soil.

Special celebrity guests include Michael Moloney, the star of ABC’s smash hit “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Moloney will be bringing his eclectic, Emmy Award-winning sensibilities that have attracted such clients as Goldie Hawn, Candace Bergin and Rachel Hunter. And his impeccable fashion credentials have recently found him working with Joan Rivers on the TV Guide Channel’s “Fashion Wrap.”

Here’s your red carpet chance to chat it up with the man who, week after week, delivers extreme dreams through extreme makeovers for people in need.

Moloney appears Saturday at both 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Joining him is Mark DeCarlo, the popular host of the Travel Channel’s “Taste of America” and author of “A Fork on the Road: 400 Cities 1 Stomach.” For four seasons, DeCarlo rode the road less traveled in uncovering the sort of stories that celebrated how down-home recipes triumph over mass produced mush in the great American melting pot of culinary delights.

Thinking of what to do with the kids? Bring them along all weekend, but especially for this one.

DeCarlo is also the familiar voice of the hapless Hugh Neutron on the Nickelodeon series “Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.” DeCarlo appears Thursday at 7 p.m. and again on Friday at both 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Also on hand will be some of Omaha’s most recognized faces participating in the 2011 Celebrity Design Room Showcase, the expo’s opportunity to honor home-town contributions to the community.

Raising awareness on special causes, Dr. Lee Simmons of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Omaha Zoo Foundation will be joined by 2010 Mrs. Nebraska Courtney Vacanti-Birnstihl, actor John Beasley (Hollywood’s Rudy and television’s “Everwood”), founder of the John Beasley Theater and Workshop, and Anne Boyle of the Nebraska Public Service Commission. Designers participating in the Showcase include LaDonna Eriksen of Interiors by Design, Rich Anderson of Niche in the Old Market, Gloria Groves of Gloria’s Elegant Interiors and Consulting, and Lori Anderson of Anderson Interiors in Rockbrook.

With any number of surveys showing that gardening is America’s #1 leisure time activity, the Omaha Home & Garden Expo welcomes back Justin Hancock, Better Homes and Gardens’ editor of BHG.com. Also getting his hands dirty will be Pat Stone, co-author of “Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul” and former “CBS This Morning” garden correspondent, whose talks have been described as “hilarious one minute, inspirational the next.”

Other garden highlights include seminars on container gardening, projects for kids, getting started and avoiding mistakes.

The Omaha Home & Garden Expo is hosted by Mid-America Expositions, the family-owned business that is now entering its sixth decade of managing door-busting events.

“As with all of our efforts,” said Mid-America President Mike Mancuso, “we’re proud of the rich traditions of this Expo. People enjoy browsing products that everyone needs with ideas to improve and maintain our homes. It is important because the home is our largest investment and it’s where we spend so much time with family.”

The emphasis is always on the new and innovative at the Omaha Home & Garden Expo, but it’s not the place to think “new” in terms of your choice of footwear. Grab the most comfortable pair you have for this pedometer-spinning workout.

-end- metroMAGAZINE





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