The Ridge Meadows Home Show is set to open this Friday afternoon, following a long tradition of bringing exhibitors with all the latest information, products, and gadgets to improve our homes.
The home show was known in its early years as Home-a-rama until it was taken over by a non-profit society in the mid 1990s and started evolving into what it is today.
For several years, Homea-rama was part of the larger Mountain Festival, a 10 day event that was spread throughout the community.
Before the construction of Planet Ice, the Ridge Meadows Home Show and Home-a-rama before that were held at the Cam Neely Arena in downtown Maple Ridge, currently the site of Memorial Peace Park.
A report from 1985 claimed that Mountain Festival, which included Home-a-rama, saw 30,000 visitors per year and included a casino, beer garden, and round-the-clock entertainment.
In 1995, Home-a-rama was "resurrected and rebranded" as the Ridge Meadows Home Show, said project coordinator Cass Winder, and came under the auspices of the newly formed Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Home Show Society, a non-profit organization.
The society was started by former Maple Ridge mayor and businessman Gord Robson.
Before the society was formed, only a handful of booths were sold and attendance was down to a couple hundred visitors.
"It was truly on its last legs and ready for a little TLC," Winder explained, crediting Robson with ensuring its continuation under the banner of a non-profit society.
In 2000, the home show moved to Planet Ice when the Cam Neely Arena in downtown Maple Ridge was set to be demolished.
"Home show and Mountain Festival co-existed to mutual benefit for five years with crowds drawn by the show bolstering Mountain Festival events like the annual parade," Winder said.
Mountain Festival morphed into the Spirit of Wood Festival, held as a lead-up to the 2010 Olympics.
According to Winder, the home show has "amazing loyalty from both the business community and from local residents."
"It has grown to become one of Western Canada's largest home shows and now hosts a variety of partnering events that enhance its appeal," Winder said.
This includes amusement rides from Westcoast Amusements, the Family Fest Funzone with live entertainment and activities for children, the psychic fair, as well as the Outdoor Life& Leisure Show, introduced last year.
But the main attraction continues to be the 375 booths where locals can get information about home renovations, products, new gadgets, home decor, and much more.
Demos, how-to seminars, and product samples are also part of the show.
There will also be information from other groups, for example, the Art Studio Tour will promote their upcoming event. Local governments and agencies also use the home show venue to inform the public on their activities.
Admission to the home show is $3 each, or $6 per family.
More on this weekend's Ridge Meadows Home Show is available at www.ridgemeadowshomeshow.com.