FARGO - Every year, a few things signal "spring" to F-M residents - the days are getting longer, the birds are singing a little louder and the Downtown Moorhead Dairy Queen is once again open. (Well, almost - we can all grab Dilly Bars on March 1.)
But nothing ushers in spring more than the Red River Valley Home and Garden Show where winter-weary residents walk amongst vendors, inspiring dreams of summertime remodeling projects accompanied by an ice cold beer and a burger sizzling on the grill.
Hundreds of exhibitors from around the region will gather at the Fargodome Friday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, Feb 25, for the 57th annual show sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead (HBAFM). This year promises a celebration of the past, a nod to present trends and a peek at future possibilities.
The past: Everything old is new again
During the past five years, we've seen an explosion in the popularity of reclaimed wood for home remodeling. Lumber that was once part of old barns, factories and warehouses now serves as rustic doors, walls and decorations in the newer homes. Bryce Johnson, chief executive officer at HBAFM, says the popularity of reclaimed wood can be summed up with one word: character.
"It gives homeowners a chance to add a truly unique twist to their homes," she says.
Reclaimed wood tells the story of days gone by with wood that seems stronger, sturdier and more durable than what we have today. Johnson says people also like reclaimed wood for its contribution to green building through recycling and repurposing of materials that might otherwise go to waste. You can learn more about reclaimed wood during a workshop with Dakota Timber Company. (For times/days for all workshops, see the Red River Valley Home and Garden Show Guide inserted in today's edition of The Forum.)
The present: From mango to mudrooms
Remodeling was more popular than ever in 2017 and this year should be no different. The hottest trends include brightly colored - think mango or spring grass - contemporary kitchens; design-focused and statement-making entryways; Tim "the Toolman" Taylor complete garage overhauls, "now-there's-a-place-for-your-backpack" mudrooms and envy-worthy, state-of-the-art home automation. Accent Kitchen & Bath of Fargo will host a workshop on new design trends and help you learn what might work in your home.
"Accent has told us that a couple of trends they're seeing include frameless cabinets, also known as 'full-access' cabinets. They are simply cabinets with no face frame, and they tend to be a more contemporary look," Johnson says.
The future: The next generation of builders?
You'll have a chance to meet some innovative young designers at West Fargo's Liberty Middle School booth. Forty-eight sixth graders from Mary Kensok & Darci Bratsch's STEM classes have tried their hand at designing tiny homes.
Kensok says the students utilized the four C's of education - collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking - to work on their scale drawings and build 13 models. Students will present their models to a panel of experts who will decide which three will be displayed at the Home and Garden Show.
"Our hope is we can actually get one of the models built and showcase the wonderful work these students are doing," Bratsch says.
Kensok says they've raised about $5,000 towards the $15,000 to $20,000 construction price tag. Johnson says not only is this a great way to showcase building for people who don't want or need a large home, it's promising for the future of the homebuilding industry.
"We (HBAFM) are concerned about a workforce shortage in the residential construction industry. Liberty Middle School's project gets kids involved in designing a tiny house and seeing it built on a lot, here in town," Johnson says. "Anything that allows students to experience the trades as lucrative, fulfilling careers is a step in the right direction."
3 things you can't miss
While some people most enjoy walking from aisle to aisle looking at the 300 exhibits, there are a few other things you don't want to miss.
As always, workshops will provide advice on remodeling your home both inside and out. Accent Kitchen and Bath will highlight hot trends in remodeling, while Beyond Concrete offers instructions on building concrete outdoor planters. Dakota Timber Company shares ideas about the uses of reclaimed wood, Gate City Bank will host a session on affording a home and Prairie Homebrewing will teach you how to brew your own craft beer.
Speaking of beer
The Home Builders Care of F-M Foundation Beer Walk, featuring samples from Fargo Brewing Company, will be held Friday night from 7 to 9 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It will cost $5 for five stops or $8 for 10 stops with proceeds donated to Home Builders Care Foundation which supports scholarships, workforce development and projects related to the housing industry.
Fun for kids
You won't need to drag your child kicking and screaming to the Fargodome next weekend. The Red River Valley Home and Garden show has planned ahead with children's activities, including a treasure hunt for the first 500 children and a Lego homebuilding competition for ages 5 to 12 on Saturday (pre-registration is required).
If You Go
What: 57th Annual Red River Valley Home & Garden Show
Where: Fargodome, 1800 N. University Dr., Fargo
When: 3 to 9 p.m on Friday, Feb. 23; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25.
Info: Admission is $10; children age 18 and under are free. Get $6 advance tickets at the Fargodome through Thursday, Feb. 22. Visit hbafm.com for more details.