March 1st and 2nd 2014 is the date for what has become one of the things that gives people in the Athens Limestone area hope that spring, will, in fact, triumph over winter. What’s happening? The Annual Limestone County Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden Show, to be held at the Limestone County Event Center. No one knows what the weather will be like, and in days gone by, during the event March has “roared in like a lion” in the form of a tornado, and “been like a lamb” with true spring weather. Irrespective of the surrounding weather conditions, 60 vendors will be in and outside, displaying everything from the latest gardening tools and tips to beautiful leather furniture. There is no charge for admission.
Every year the Chamber has picked a charity to be the recipient of donations accepted at the event entrance. Jennifer Williamson, President of the Chamber, told me that this year they did something different. Chamber members nominated various non-profits, and the selection committee chose a charity to spotlight at this year’s show. The nominees had to be members of the Chamber, have 501 C 3 non profit status, demonstrate fiscal and administrative stability, and be involved in one of the following areas: community development, education, health and human services, arts and culture, environment and natural resources, and diversity and inclusion. This year’s winner is Hospice of Limestone County, the sponsor of the iconic Chili Challenge. “We felt this was a way that the Chamber of Commerce can give back to our local non-profits,” Jennifer said.
The purpose of the Home and Garden Show, besides to encourage us to hang on until winter passes, is to “showcase small local businesses and merchants,” said Jennifer. The vendors range from the standard bath, kitchen, decorating, gardening, handyman services, construction and banking institutions to non-traditional booths such as chiropractic and massage, (for your aching back if you are too strenuous of a weekend warrior, and) cosmetics. Some outdoor vendors will feature riding mowers, off road ATVs, “mules,” and “gators.” Also, this year the Tower Garden by Juice Plus+ is going to be featured. It is a way of growing your own fresh produce with less than 10% of the land, and 10% of the soil needed in standard gardening.
Every year Master Gardeners come to give lectures and demonstrations, as does a representative from the Alabama Extension Service. This year’s Master Gardener is Chris Becker, and the Extension Service rep is Doug Chapman. Chris will be speaking on successful gardening and lawn care, and Doug will cover fruit trees from the seedling stage clear through to harvesting and pruning.
Lowe’s will be doing demonstrations for kids that are a duplicate of their Saturday workshops. There will be one Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon, and kids will get a chance to build a project that they can take home. They will also be demonstrating money saving gardening tips.
In addition, KALB (Keep Athens Limestone Beautiful) will give kids an opportunity to plant seeds. “Some they’ll take home for themselves, some they’ll give back to KALB to be placed in the Community Garden. The kids will be invited back to plant their seedlings, and when they are harvested, they’ll know that what they planted will be given back to the community through LCCI,” Lynne Hart, Director of KALB told me. Reseda Nurseries will concentrate on small space vegetable and flower gardening.
Jennifer emphasized that she “really wanted people to know about the demonstrations,” and also indicated that there are some wonderful prizes available. “The grand prize is a $500 airline fare voucher compliments of Huntsville International Airport,” she said. Other prizes include 2 tickets to attend a race at Talladega, as well as a beautiful outdoor grill.
This year’s event will be emceed by America’s Party Pros, from Huntsville, and if the last few years are any indication, the event should draw several thousand attendees. So, mark your calendar and help usher in what is bound to be a stunningly beautiful spring in our fair county by attending the Limestone County Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden Show on Saturday, March 1, from 9-4, and Sunday, March 2nd from 12-4.
Limestone County Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden Show
114 West Pryor Street, Athens, AL, 35611 (Across from the Alabama Veterans’ Museum)
For more information, come to the Chamber of Commerce office at 101 South Beaty Street, Athens, AL 35611, or call 256-232-2600. You can also go online at www.tourathens.com
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner