The 29th annual Home & Garden Show offered an array of vendor exhibits and educational workshops Friday at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.
A collaboration of the Jefferson County Master Gardeners, Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service, and the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean & Beautiful Commission, the show’s organizers spend a year to plan the event.
Event chairwoman Linda Soffer highlighted new vendors, a birds of prey exhibit, live plants, and 60 students from Belair Middle School. The show continues today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.
Bettye Johnson has been a master gardener for 10 years and has worked to prepare each show for 29 years. She expects 2,000 people to visit the show between by the time it ends today.
“The purpose is to promote gardening and pride in your home and surroundings, to teach people to take care of plants,” Johnson said.
The master gardeners grow flowers along Martha Mitchell Expressway, grow produce elsewhere, and donate fresh produce to homeless shelter Neighbor to Neighbor.
“This is how we raise money,” Johnson said of the show. “We are so glad to see so many people coming out.”
Barbara Schmitt is the ministry coordinator at Christ the King Lutheran Church of Memphis, Tennessee, and provided water to Job the comfort dog. Schmitt welcomed visitors to pet Job. The church uses Job to comfort survivors of terror attacks, including the Boston Marathon bombing, the Orlando nightclub shootings, the aftermath of tornadoes and a school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The church also brings Job to nursing homes, hospitals, schools, churches, and basketball games.
“Job comforts first responders and brings a little joy into everyone’s lives,” Schmitt said. “He is owned by our church. Job is a bridge for his human handlers to minister to those people in need.”
Rachel Cherry is the public programs coordinator of the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. She discussed a program with students through the Merrill Community Center and the Boys & Girls Club.
“We’ve been creating stop-motion animation stories based on ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’” Cherry said. “[Students] learned how to grow a beanstalk and created technological stories. The idea was to teach the kids from start to finish about growing things and the concepts of creating stories and applying it to technology. We are showcasing their work.”
Cindy Barszczewski belongs to a group of friends called Stitching Together. They make quilts and display them at the show.
“A lot of people have older quilts that have been packed away, and nobody sees them,” Barszczewski said. “Now they get a chance to show their grandmother’s quilt.”
Sue Womack agreed with her friend and fellow quilter Barszczewski.
“One reason I do this is because it brings back beautiful memories for so many people,” Womack said. “They look at them and say, ‘I remember when my grandmother did this.’ If you can bring back good memories, you’ve done something.”
Stitching Together includes Suzanne Hulse, Carol Hurt and Pam Brown.
Educational seminars scheduled for today include Get Out of the Dirt from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.; An Extremely Brief into to Aquaponics from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.; Tree Trimming and Maintenance from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.; and raffle drawings at 3 p.m.