BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The HBA Home & Garden Show has been going on for 69 years, and this year will be its 70th. But, it almost didn’t happen.
COVID-19 restrictions looked like they might bring it to a halt, but with a plan in place and the help of the Mahoning County Public Health Department, it’s happening.
If you’ve been to the HBA Home & Garden Show, you’re used to seeing it with over 100 booths and about 300 guests, but we know that won’t be the case this year.
“There were certain points that we were thinking because of the change in condition in COVID. We didn’t know how things would end up,” said Karen Caruso, HBA’s executive officer.
They didn’t want to cancel the show, so the HBA teamed up with Mahoning County Public Health to make it a COVID-safe event at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman.
“The biggest challenge with any kind of event like this is spacing, social distancing. That’s what was most worried about, that’s where a good majority of our focus has been,” said Colton Masters, Mahoning County Environmental Health’s director.
“It’ll be a one-way, counterclockwise flow of traffic. So rather than just walking wherever people want to walk, it’s a one-way smooth flow around the perimeter of the show,” Caruso said.
On top of one-way traffic flow, to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, they cut the number of booths to 68 and guest capacity to 150.
Masks are of course required and temperatures will be taken at the door, an extra step the HBA decided on with the help of On Demand Occupational Medicine.
“Having the experienced staff, we can ensure that everyone coming in the facility is able to obviously be safe. They’re healthy, they are within temperature range,” said Megan Wine, with On Demand Occupational Medicine.
And even though this is another COVID-19 event, everything else at the Home & Garden Show should look familiar.
“There’s all kinds of remodelers, there’s garage doors, landscapers, builders — you can find anything for projects large and small,” Caruso said.
For County Public Health, the framework of this event is hopefully what we can plan to see more of in spring and summer.
“After looking at the comprehensive plan they submitted to us, I feel very comfortable with this event. We said, you know, we know local businesses have been struggling this past year. We know that we wanna be able to get people to do an event like this if it’s possible to do it safely,” Masters said.
The Home & Garden Show is less than a month away. The dates are March 12-14. It’s a free event. Hours are listed below.
- Friday, March 12: Noon to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, March 13: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Sunday, March 14: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If they are at capacity, you don’t have to worry about standing out in the cold. They’ll have propane heaters lining the walkway outside the doors to keep guests warm.