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Niche Publications

Senior Editor for Niche Publications of the Billings Gazette

The diversity in each home improvement-related industry displayed on websites like Houzz and Pinterest can be found in one fell swoop. The Spring Home Improvement Show at MetraPark has more than visuals; it boasts live people to answer questions, give quotes and provide local examples.

The spring show has evolved to include the latest in technology and innovations in all spectrums of homeownership (and even “rentership”).

“You’re going to get the benefit of 35 years’ worth of involvement,” said Mark Hedin, who founded the biannual show through Rimrock Promotions with his late-father Merlyn in 1983.

Hedin and his wife Rhonda share the business with sons Beau and Devon.

With family as the focus, the Hedins have something for everyone at the three-day show March 2-4 at MetraPark’s Montana Pavilion and Expo Center.

‘It’s an experience’

Mark says anything that’s an “experience” is free to show-goers. That means the parking, upper lot shuttle, admission, kids’ workshops and activities, and grand prize sweepstakes—it’s all free.

And the home improvement ideas and business relationships fostered by the show are free, too.

“Not only are you able to experience, but also develop a rapport,” Beau said.

The Hedins emphasize that the people manning the 650 different exhibits are the same people potentially being hired for home projects.

“They’re there to stand by their work,” added Devon.

Local businesses who don’t have their own showrooms or storefronts use the show as their platform. Six businesses come away with prizes for first, second and third in “most innovative” and “best-in-show.” Billings Nursery placed first in best-in-show last year for their intricate landscaping display. Some businesses take several weeks to set up and take down exhibits like outdoor modular home displays.

From 20-ton custom waterfalls and outdoor saunas to home theaters and “she sheds,” there’s something for him, her and the kids.

“It’s all about the DIY-ers, too,” Beau said.

Homeowners can use the show as a think tank and fine-tune how to get the job done, he said.

Workshops, wonder and food trucks

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While the real meat and potatoes of the show are the exhibits, perusing every booth can take all weekend. Event-goers are encouraged to sate their palates with several local food truck options and keep kids occupied with workshops scattered throughout both buildings.

The Home Depot returns as the go-to place for families to build something together. Custom balloon animal and face-painting activities are also available, as is Photo Booth Billings, an on-site photo booth free for families.

And while local exhibitors are commonplace, nationally-known businesses like Golden West Marketing will be showcasing “As Seen on TV” products that Mark touts as nothing short of spectacular.

“Be prepared to be mesmerized,” he said. “These people are so good; be prepared to take (the product) home with you.”

Thirty-thousand people are expected across the three days and no one is required to be present to win one of the 15 grand prizes worth $35,000 in total. Winners will be notified Monday, March 5.

Devon says people who’ve attended in the past shouldn’t feel deterred from coming again.

“Each year it continues to evolve and change and each year it gets a little bit better.”