AUGUSTA — The magnetism of bright blooms, flowering trees and bubbling, warm water drew the attention of the spring-starved attendees Saturday at the 41st annual Manchester Lions Home and Garden Show.
The three-day event continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Augusta Civic Center.
The show offered flowers for sale for the first time this year, said Michelle Crocker, who served as show chairwoman this year. The booth was offered by Longfellows Greenhouses and Hopkins Flowers, both of Manchester.
“People were asking for flowers,” Crocker said. “It’s been a long, hard winter, so we answered their call.”
Booths featuring outdoor products proved popular with patrons, and even some indoor products, such as wooden cutting boards, gleaming pots and pans, and kitchen and bath fixtures.
There were displays of sheds, lawn tractors, windows, household heaters and a couple of floating docks and ramps — for when the ice eases its grip on Maine waters.
Three-year-old Carson Mattice, of Augusta, was attracted to a path of white stones in one outdoor display. He ran up the path to sit on a slatted wooden bench and started shuffling his workboots in the gravel. His father, Steve Mattice, followed him. The whole Mattice family had come to enjoy the show Saturday morning.
“We bought a house in November and are looking for different ideas for things we can do,” Steve Mattice said, looking around the main auditorium. “It’s exciting.”
Debbie Hall’s grandchildren already had decided what they wanted — a nice warm hot tub.
Cooper, 9, and Olivia, 10, stood close to a bright blue, bubbling hot tub, trailing their hands in the water.
“Nanny, there’s even a light,” one of them called.
“The kids like the hot tub. I love the gardens,” said Debbie Hall, of Manchester.
“We wanted to come here and then go home and do some yard work outside and play with the kids.”
Derek Messenger, a sales consultant for Premier Pools & Spa, of Lewiston, kept careful watch on the temperature of the water.
“I’ve got to make sure it’s hot all the time,” he said.
It’s Premier’s first year as a vendor at the event. “We’ll be coming back every year now,” he said.
Several other vendors also offered displays of hot tubs, most of them attracting the hands of those walking around the show.
Admission fees are $6 for those over 16, with $1 off for those over 65. Admission is free for ages 16 and under.
A card at the ticket booth notes that “proceeds go back to the community.” The service club’s website about the event, lionshomeandgardenshow.org, says the money is “distributed to nonprofit and community organizations in the area. In the past, local Boy Scouts, Food Banks, Little League, the Children’s Center and Pine Tree Camp have all benefited from donations.”