Get geared up for spring home improvement projects with weekend home and garden shows | Entertainment

David Beckam

If the recent mild temperatures having you thinking ahead to spring, a pair of weekend events can help you get a jumpstart on your home and garden projects.

The Nebraska Builders Home and Garden Show has a 50-year history in Lincoln.

The show will take place from 1-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Lancaster Event Center, 4100 N. 84th St., in northeast Lincoln. It will occupy both Pavilions 1 and 4.

Almost 250 businesses that offer services for updating your home and garden will be at the show. Exhibitors will include new home builders, home remodelers, financing and banking services, landscaping, flooring and window suppliers and more.

Student entries in the High School Interior and Residential Design Contest will be on display at the show. The winners will then be honored at a Tribute to Youth event in April.

A unique house will be built throughout the home and garden show.

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Instead of a typical house containing drywall, the Remodelers Council will be sponsoring its 20th Annual Food Bank House. Visitors to the show who bring a non-perishable, non-expired food item for the Food Bank of Lincoln will receive $1 off admission.

Last year’s Food Bank House was filled with 2,587 pounds of food donated by home show visitors. Since 2003, the council has collected more than 84,700 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Lincoln.

There also will be plenty of events geared toward kids at the show.

At Kids Square, guests will be able to spend with their kids taking part in activities such as balloon animals, face painting, Wildlife Encounters and more.

Wildlife Encounters, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about wildlife conservation while offering a home for animals in need, will give presentations at the show at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday; 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Shades the Clown and Friends will be making balloon creations from 1-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Face painting will be offered from 4-8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Admission to the show is $8 for adults or $7 with a non-perishable, non-expired food item for the Food Bank of Lincoln. Admission is free for children 12 and under.

The first 600 people who enter the home show on Friday will receive a free Nebraska Lottery Scratch Ticket. It is valid on Friday only with paid admission (must be 19 years or older).

Meanwhile in Omaha, the 56th Annual Omaha Home and Garden Expo will take place Thursday through Sunday at CHI Health Center Omaha, 10th Street and Capitol Avenue.

Show exhibits will be open to the public from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $9 for adults, $4.50 for kids 5-12, and free for kids under 5.

The latest ideas and trends for kitchens, bathrooms and home improvement projects will be showcased along with landscaped gardens complete with ponds, waterfalls and blooming flowers.

Guests will find a wide variety of products and ideas for the do-it-yourselfers, interior decorating trends, contractor services, energy-saving products, patio furniture, lawn and garden equipment, room additions, replacement and new windows, doors, siding, roofing, fireplaces, bathrooms, kitchens and more with hundreds of displays.

A new home completely decorated with a backyard garden display will be available for tours. On the garden side of the show, guests will have the opportunity to visit The Greater Omaha Garden Club and “Ask the Master Gardener” Answer Desk. Informative shows will be featured in the garden theater.

“For the Midwest home consumer, it is the time when they can find the indoor and outdoor products needed all at one time and in one place,” Mike Mancuso, president of Mid-America Expositions Inc., the show producer, said in a media release. “You can pick up ideas at the show and adapt them to everyday living. If you’re looking for ideas, products, services, tremendous savings, or if you are going to build, remodel, decorate or landscape, this is your opportunity to do so in a relaxed and casual atmosphere.”

Nationally-known experts and personalities, including Mary Welch Fox Stasik from the HGTV series “Breaking Bland,” will be giving presentations throughout the expo.

As part of the new series set in Charleston, South Carolina, Welch Fox Stasik helps clients create living spaces that express their individuality and design aesthetic with a bit of pizazz and confidence.

The “spunky interior designer” will be appearing on the main expo stage at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Guests can see and touch exotic animals from around the world when Wildlife Encounters gives presentations at 6 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday, noon and 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.

This year’s show also will include a Spotlight on Great Chefs. Gladys Harrison will be among the spotlighted chefs.

Harrison, owner of Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering in Omaha, will present “Big Mama’s Secret Recipe” at 4 p.m. Saturday. The popular restaurant, as seen on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” with Guy Fieri, is known for its famous chicken, shrimp and grits, meatloaf, collard greens and sweet potato pie.

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