AUGUSTA — More than 60 vendors filled the Augusta Civic Center on Friday afternoon for the start of the 43rd annual Manchester Lions Club Home and Garden Show.

Michelle Crocker, the show’s chairwoman, said she expects weekend attendance to be 1,800 to 2,000 guests, which is average.

“We like when it’s cloudy or some light rain, because people don’t do as many things outside,” Crocker said. “Instead, they come here and get some ideas for what they can do when the weather is better.”

Several vendors are making their first appearance at the show, Crocker said, including an entire row of vendors at the venue promoting healthy living.

“Landscapers and construction businesses are the primary reasons people come to the show, but the healthy living booths seem to be popular,” Crocker said.

One of the new healthy living options on display is a vertical aeroponic growing system called the Tower Garden, founded by a former greenhouse manager for the futuristic agriculture exhibit The Land at Disney World’s EPCOT Center in Orlando.

Natalia Irving, a Moscow, Russia, native who has lived in Maine for a decade, said the company, JuicePlus, promotes healthy living by encouraging people to grow their own crops.

Irving said the product is great for people in Maine because it can be stored in the winter and easily kept outside, on a porch or balcony or even on a rooftop.

Many of the show’s attendees stopped to check out Duane Blous and the barbecue grill mat from Another Look Inc. Blous, of Bangor, demonstrated the mat’s function by grilling an egg and some vegetables. The mat, Blous said, is easy to clean and keeps food from falling through the cracks on the grill.

“It’s perfect for the unsanitary grills at parks,” Blous said. He was selling a two-pack of the mats for $20. “You spend more than $20 a year on tinfoil and to clean your grill.”

Other booths at the show include roofing, lawn maintenance equipment and dock systems.

Sara Lacharite, of Pleasant Dock Systems in Bowdoin, said the company does a number of shows each year leading up to the summer season. She said Fridays are usually the slowest because people are working and children are in school, but she expects traffic to her booth to pick up over the weekend.

“At boat shows we are much busier, but (this show) has a good quality of people that come,” Lacharite said. “They typically own homes and are here to do business to find solutions and things. We do fairly well.”

Lacharite said internet shopping certainly has changed the way this type of show attracts customers. Her company offers discounts to people who put down deposits at trade shows.

“Nowadays, people can do this overnight in their pajamas on the computer,” Lacharite said. “Years ago, this was the only way for people to come and talk to this many different types of vendors all in one day.”

Crocker said she hopes that the presence of new vendors draws new people to the show.

Joyce Alcorn, of New Sharon, came to the show for the first time Friday to browse and look for gardening ideas and to look at new windows.

“I came to browse around, and I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen,” Alcorn said. “I’ve seen different things than what you usually see, and the tower (garden) is very interesting.”

The show continues from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The show features children’s activities including a coloring contest, a scavenger hunt and vision screening.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

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Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ