Energy Adviser: Home and garden fair blossoms anew



What is it that blossoms with new home and garden ideas every spring? It’s the Clark Public Utilities Home and Garden Idea Fair, the go-to resource for homeowners and gardeners looking for improvement season inspiration for the past 22 years.

With more than 20,000 people attending the three-day event each year, the fair is one of the most popular community events in Clark County. It features hundreds of ways to make your home, yard and garden more beautiful, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

“The fair has grown into one of the largest garden- and family-oriented events in the region and it’s a great place to talk with hundreds of local businesses about that next project you have planned for the house or yard,” said Heather Allmain, Clark Public Utilities communication services manager. “It encourages Clark County residents to support local growers, farmers and companies — and it’s something fun and free the whole family can enjoy together.”

The free event offers fairgoers several familiar attractions: hundreds of exhibitors showing off home and garden-related products and services, the latest in energy-efficient technologies, full-scale landscape displays, and one of the largest plant sales in the region.

This year will also feature a display of antique electric meters, an old-time utility truck, vintage photos and other utility memorabilia to highlight Clark Public Utilities’ 75th anniversary and explain the beginnings of public power in Clark County.

The popular Energy Smart Home by New Tradition Homes returns. The 24-by-24-foot model home is built to showcase a variety of energy-efficient technologies and tablet-controlled home automation for adjusting heating, lighting and security. Clark Public Utilities energy counselors will be on hand to offer tips on outsmarting energy waste in your home and answer questions about utility programs and incentives.

Bring burned-out compact fluorescent light bulbs with you, and the utility will recycle them and replace up to six per customer with new CFL bulbs.

Parked near the smart home, a new Nissan Leaf electric car courtesy of Alan Webb Auto Group will show off residential car-charging technology. You’ll also be able to check out the Leaf with a test drive during the ride and drive feature available throughout the weekend.

For children, the interactive Power Zone exhibit also returns. It teaches kids about electricity and electrical safety, reinforces the power of electricity and cautions children to stay clear of power lines and transformers. The zone also features hands-on activities, including a bicycle generator that uses muscle power to turn on a light bulb. Other kid-friendly activities include flower-planting, button-making, building projects and more.

With so much going on, you might want to map out your visit beforehand. With more than 100 businesses participating in the fair, local Farmers Market vendors on the midway, dozens of local nonprofit organizations, more than 50 plant sellers and a big kids’ activities area, there’s much to see. At Home and Garden Idea Fair, you can find a list of exhibitor, as well as a schedule of presentations on topics such as urban beekeeping and collecting water in rain barrels.

“Thousands of our customers come every year to get environmentally friendly ideas to make their homes more comfortable and to kick-start the home improvement and gardening season,” Allmain said. “It’s become a local tradition and something folks of all ages look forward to.”

Save the $6 event center parking fee by catching the free shuttle from the 99th Street or Fisher’s Landing transit centers to the fairgrounds, 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield. For the shuttle schedule and other fair details, check the website.

The free fair will be held April 26, 27 and 28 at the Clark County Event Center. Although admission is free, the fair encourages food donations for Clark County food banks. Also welcomed are cash donations to Operation Warm Heart, which helps low-income families in crisis pay their utility bills.Energy adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.