The pristine landscape just inside the doors of the Utz Arena is a stark contrast from the snow and ice outside.
Inside, more than 150 exhibitors are setting scenes free of winter weather, hoping to help York County residents think about spring — and home improvement projects.
The York Builders Association Home Show kicks off at 1 p.m. Friday and includes several new offerings in its 50th year.
"It's a chance for us to showcase the best talent in York County and the new things that contractors in the area have been able to do in the community," said Katie Dennis, Builders Association spokeswoman.
Garden spaces are among the new offerings.
"It's stunning. Walking into the show is like walking into a backyard landscape," she said.
And guests can drink like they're at a backyard barbecue.
From 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, there will be a wine and beer tasting in honor of the event's 50th anniversary.
Gov. Tom Corbett will be at the event at 5 p.m. Friday to cut a cake with a commemorative saw.
"We invited him to talk about the local industry and what it means to build a home in York County," Dennis said.
The local industry is "doing fairly well," she said.
"We saw a big uptick in December. People got tired of waiting on home projects," Dennis said.
Local builders are trying to capitalize on that interest, offering more seminars and samples during the Home Show.
New seminars have been added this year that explain how to get the best mortgage in the current economy and offer tips on decorating, cooking, painting, remodeling and more.
"It's a great place for people to get inspired for their residential, commercial and community projects," Dennis said.
The show is also a good event for people who don't want to spend money on a contractor.
"They'll get ideas even if they don't hire a builder. It's a way for us to also be community builders," she said.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, guests can test their skills during the Homeowner Olympics, featuring games such as the Swiffer Mop Race, Saran Wrap Mummy Wrap, Duct Tape Roll Off and a nail-driving competition. In lieu of gold, silver and bronze, winners will receive prizes from exhibitors.
The event will also offer plenty of events for kids, including a Lego-building competition at 1 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.
Children are divided into two age groups, 5 to 9 and 10 to 12, and cash prizes are awarded for best in show ($75), first place ($50), second place ($35) and third place ($25) in each category during both days of the competition.
Kids will also find robots shared by the 4-H Tech Storm Robotics Club, balloon animals, face painting, a petting zoo set up by the 4-H Rabbit and Poultry Club. And the South Central PA Woodturners will be on hand, using their lathes to spin wood into twirling tops.
"It's a nice event for the kids too, especially when it's probably been a little tough for them to play outside," Davis said.
Location: Utz Arena,York Expo Center, 334 Carlisle Road.
Hours: 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday,11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Admission: $8 for guests 19 and older, free for guests 18 and younger
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