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Spring has finally sprung, and for the Jamestown Renaissance Center (JRC), that can only mean one thing: their annual GROW Jamestown Home and Garden Show. The event is held every spring as part of the JRC’s mission to revitalize and beautify Jamestown, presenting show-goers with resources, education, and activities regarding horticulture and home improvement. This year’s show, sponsored by Mike’s Nursery, will take place at the Northwest Arena on Saturday, Apr. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show is free and open to the public.
The Inspiration Behind the Show
The JRC’s first Home and Garden Show was held in 2011, only in those days, it was simply a garden show. It grew from a JRC program called the Renaissance Block Challenge, which provides financial assistance to neighborhoods wanting to make exterior improvements to their properties. Looking for other avenues to encourage beautification in Jamestown neighborhoods, the JRC decided to host a garden fair.
“It started out as just gardens, with about 15 vendors present, but we outgrew this [JRC building’s] front,” said Mary Maxwell, Neighborhood Project Associate at the JRC. “Last year, we jumped to the ice arena for more space and combined two different programs: the gardening and the home improvement. We had over 50 vendors, and just under 2,000 people showed up in those six hours. It went big.”
The decision to mesh the two programs together came from a desire to create a one-stop shop for homeowners in Chautauqua County. According to Christina Breen, Event and Project Associate, the JRC wanted to create an event that was truly all-inclusive in addressing the needs of gardeners and property owners.
“We want to have all the necessary information – about home improvement, front yard gardens, how to boost your home’s curb appeal – under one roof,” Breen said. “You don’t have to go to all these different places and try to figure it out on your own. We’ve combined all the resources together to benefit the project, educate the community, and help people network. It’s very comprehensive.”
These days, the Home and Garden Show falls under the umbrella of the JRC’s GROW Jamestown partnership. GROW Jamestown puts forth community-wide initiatives to improve neighborhood aesthetics, such as sponsoring community gardens and leading the Front Garden Recognition Program.
“It’s all about bringing the community together and making Jamestown a bit more beautiful,” Breen said. “This show just aligns with all of the programs that we run at the JRC.”
This Year’s Show
Each year that GROW Jamestown’s Home and Garden Show has been presented, it has grown in magnitude, and the 2017show will be no different. In its seventh year, the show will feature 56 vendors, including nurseries, contractors, landscape designers, craft and food vendors, and much more. New this year is a station featuring an interactive Hydroponic system, a method of gardening that grows plants using only water and no soil.
“That is put on by our friends down at the BioDome Project,” Breen said. “They’re going to be showing people how easy it is to set up this kind of system. So they’ll have information on how to set up a hydroponic system at your home, what the costs are, and what supplies you’ll need.”
Another new feature at this year’s show is the screening of two documentaries, “Lunch Love Community” and “Dirt! The Movie.” Both films explore topics of relevance and concern to local homeowners, such as health, food reform, and community sustainability. According to Breen, incorporating documentaries into the Home and Garden Show is something the JRC has wanted to achieve for several years.
“The films are very appropriate to this event, they encompass everything we’re trying to do,” she said. “And it’s nice to have a different sort of feature. So if somebody wants to shop, then maybe rest their feet and watch a documentary, they can do that.”
Besides vendors, this year’s show will also offer a dozen educational workshops, hosted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program of Chautauqua County and other area professionals. The workshops cover a wide spectrum of home- and garden-related topics, such as seed starting, medicinal properties of common herbs, energy efficiency in your home, and chain saw safety.
“We have definitely taken our workshop topics to a new level from previous years,” Maxwell said. “Event volunteers, along with the Master Gardeners and business owners, have worked hard to make sure this year’s workshops are educational and fun.”
The Home and Garden Show will also offer a children’s area, featuring games, crafts, and activities related to gardening and civic responsibility. Parents are welcome to drop their children off at this area while they explore the rest of the Home and Garden Show.
“There’s no reason not to come by,” Maxwell said. “We have activities for adults and activities for kids. And it’s free, free, free. You don’t even have to pay for parking, because it’s on a Saturday.”
This year’s GROW Jamestown Home and Garden Show is sponsored by Mike’s Nursery, the Resource Center, Stone and Outdoor Living Center, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program, Century 21 Turner Brokers, Lowes Pro Services and the JRC. The JRC would also like to extend their gratitude to all the community volunteers who help make the event run smoothly and efficiently.