The Valdosta Daily Times
Although heavy rainfall pounded Valdosta Saturday, it did not hold citizens back from making a trip to the James H. Rainwater Conference Center for the 2013 Home, Hobby and Outdoors Show, sponsored by the Home Builders Association of South Georgia.
Jill Pope Maine has been the executive director of the Home and Garden Show for 12 years, with the intention to grab the interests of home and garden connoisseurs from all over the Valdosta area. This year, Maine decided to switch things up a little bit.
“This is our first year as a Home, Hobby and Outdoors show,” Maine said. “It’s one of the biggest shows to date. Even with the weather, we are very pleased. It will be an annual tradition from here on out.”
This weekend, approximately 115 vendors participated in the first Home, Hobby and Outdoors Show. Every company imaginable came out, displaying everything from The Busy Bee’s Easter treats to LA’s homemade wreaths. The products were limitless.
Not only did the vendors enjoy seeing new faces but found it to be a great opportunity to get their names and products out to potential customers.
“We’ve been coming for about four or five years,” said Mike Dearmon, a representative for Dynamic ENT. “The feeling is great. People are really friendly. Our home base is out of Daytona Beach, Fla."
Among all of the vendors present, celebrity guests from the hit shows "Duck Dynasty," Justin Martin and John Godwin, as well as The Dreadknots from "Ax Men," Capt. Clint Roberts, Dave “The Kraken” Stone and Chris Miller, made special appearances. The men greeted their devoted Valdosta fans and posed for many photo opportunities that were desired.
As the attendance increased and the lines grew longer and longer to see the members from "Duck Dynasty" and "Ax Men," It Works! Executive Samantha Murphy thanked the television stars for a lot of their customers.
“This is our first year. We've had a descent crowd,” Murphy said. “It’s been good. I think 'Duck Dynasty' helped the turnout.”
Murphy’s associate, It Works! Global Distributor Julie Chapman appreciates the new faces that strolled through their line.
“We’ve had a lot of people stop through, ask questions. We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback,” Chapman said.
Just like Murphy and Chapman, the Origami Owl’s owner, Amanda Spivey, was pleased to be a part of the first Home, Hobby and Outdoors Show.
“It’s our first year. We’ve had a good crowd come through, lots of different vendors,” Spivey said.
The Origami Owl is a home-based company that specializes in making custom gifts, such as lockets and charms for any special type of occasion.
“We do home and catalog shows. I sell lockets with different charms in them. You can make your own. I’ve been doing this about six months,” Spivey said.
As the show offered everything from do-it-yourself products to toy helicopters, one booth stood out pretty strongly, as customers were given the opportunity to hold a live baby alligator.
Donny “Gatorman” Bartow came to this year's Home, Hobby and Outdoors Show not only to promote his gator nuisance trapping business but to inform residents about his newest television show, set to air in the next couple of months.
“We are the only local licensed gator trappers,” Bartow said. “We cover six counties, Echols, Lanier, Brooks, Cook, Lowndes and Clinch.”
As Bartow introduces his “I hunt what you fear” campaign, he is always on the lookout for help.
“If anyone is interested in being involved with 'Gatorman,' they can e-mail me at email@example.com. We’re always looking for local sponsors, it benefits the local companies,” Bartow said.
As people made their rounds through the event, Peggy Anderson-Browning decided to cool down her customers with one of her delicious and guilt-free No-carbarita’s.
“It’s a no-carb, no-fat, no-calorie, no-sugar margarita mix,” Browning said. “I’ve been doing it for about eight years. It's a guilt-free margarita. We have lime, mango, orange-mango, pink-tini and mojito.”
As Easter inches closer, The Busy Bee owner Dorothy McLeod had an array of adorable Easter baskets, treats and custom hand-crafted pens on display at her booth.
“Had a big turnout, been a good experience,” McLeod said. “Just trying to get the name out there. Looks very promising.”
As the show winded down and the vendors greeted some of their final customers of the day, Home, Hobby and Outdoors staff member Sharron Gandy appreciated why she keeps returning to help Jill Pope Maine every year.
“It’s meeting the people that come through and the vendors,” Gandy said. “It’s just fun to meet all of these people.”
The Home, Hobby and Outdoors Show continues 11 a.m.-4 p.m. today, James H. Rainwater Conference Center. The same vendors will be present today, with the exception of "Duck Dynasty’s" Justin Martin and John Godwin, the "Ax Men" will still attend. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5. More information: Call (229) 247-8422.