Annual Home Show may have a few surprises in addition to the basics

The Wichita Eagle

Chuck Albin drove 3 1/2 hours from Hiawatha near the Nebraska border to Wichita early Saturday and found himself at the Home Show in Century II looking for window treatments.

He also found a snow blower that could clear all the streets in Hiawatha.

“He could become the city crew,” said his friend Linda Turley of Wichita, who also was scouting for window treatments at the show.

But that’s the Home Show, where you can find the unexpected while cruising the aisles past booths displaying everything a house could possibly need, from the roof to the foundation to the siding, from the garden to the fence to the sidewalk.

The 60th annual Home Show, sponsored by the Wichita Area Builders Association, started Thursday in all three halls at Century II. It continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for children and free for ages 6 or younger.

About 280 vendors are attending the show, mainly from the Wichita area.

Seminars also were held Saturday on a host of issues, including remodeling financing, energy efficiency and whether granite, quartz or solid-surface countertops were right for you.

Vendors said attendance was light Thursday and Friday due to the bitter cold, but they expected things to pick up on the weekend.

People wandered past booths displaying hot tubs, cleaning systems, appliances, plumbing supplies, fireplaces, furniture, skylights, storm shelters and even bamboo pillows.

Lance and Arielle Davis wandered the aisles with their two children looking for windows to replace those in their College Hill house.

“My wife is actually walking and looking,” Lance Davis said. “I’m just trying to keep the kids distracted.”

Attendance was good at booths belonging to home heating vendors. And not just because of the weather.

“We’re getting interest because of the propane crisis,” said Wayne Gile, owner of Dan’s Heating and Cooling of Wichita. “They’ve got $5 propane. We can go to electric heat pumps, go to a water source heat pump, several items to get away from propane.”

But not far away, Curtis Gray and Brett O’Dell of Propane Central LLC were doing fine, too. They met existing customers and helped people who are building a house in the country with propane options.

Building in the country is making a comeback, they said.

“It’s starting to pick up again,” O’Dell said.

Gile said he’s been taking part in the Home Show since it was held in the Forum before Century II was built. The show’s always been beneficial for the exposure of the company, he said.

As for whether this year’s show will be as beneficial, “we’ll know Sunday night,” said Steve Gile, Wayne’s brother.