MONTE VISTA— The annual Home and Garden Expo filled Ski-Hi this past weekend. The show included over 30 vendors with a variety of relevant wares and six informational presentations throughout the day on Saturday.
The expo was again organized by the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce. About 500 shoppers visited the show on Saturday and 250 on Sunday to shop and learn from the variety of vendors. Many of the vendors brought equipment to demonstrate, including one of the most noticeable hits of the show, High Country Camp’s full demo home, drawing lots of attendees inside to see the two full beds, seating area, pullout table and bathroom in the tiny house.
Informational presentations included Drew Marino, Mineral County, “Botanical Bandits: Introduction to Noxious Weeds;” Adam Moore, Colorado State Forest Service, “creating defensible space against wildfire;” Claudia Ebel described VEGI’s mission and accomplishments; Laura Conchelos with Sandhill Solar on the benefits of solar energy for home and business; Michele Valdez, “Finding gardening information using Colorado State University fact sheets,” and Abe Peerson from Colorado Plumbing and Boiler Services discussed the importance of hiring a professional for plumbing, heating & boiler maintenance.
Ebel described VEGI’s programming for K-12 schools, although mostly in K-5, teaching students about gardening and sustainable methods for growing their own vegetables and working in community gardens. VEGI’s community gardens, located throughout the San Luis Valley, have grown over 2,000 pounds of produce to donate to local food banks, where families are permitted to take as much as they can eat, unlike some of the other limited goods. VEGI also has a grow dome behind La Puente in Alamosa, a greenhouse and garden at Sierra Grande School and of course assisted with the founding of Monte Vista’s Jessie May Olson Memorial Community Garden, located at the corner of Huxley and Stallo, which is preparing for their second year and have recently received a donation of additional land from the City of Monte Vista.
Peerson had an informational presentation about the importance of plumbing to quality of life and the importance of regular maintenance, done by trained professionals, to the long term effectiveness of hot water heaters and boilers. Peerson began his presentation by pointing out 3.4 million people die worldwide from water-related diseases and 2.4 billion people don’t have adequate sanitation. Peerson noted how lucky Americans are to have effective and sanitary plumbing systems but urged attendees to remember they are often on the same lines as their neighbors, especially in municipal systems, and regular maintenance and adequate plumbing is vital for the health of individuals and the community. “We all need to be good stewards of water, it’s a shared resource and they don’t make it anymore.” Peerson lightened the mood but emphasized his points by showing attendees photos of some of the “repairs” he has come across as a plumber, including a two liter bottle linking two sink pipes, pipes linked with duct tape and a shower head made from a beer can, emphasizing the health risks all of those methods posed with bacteria growth. Peerson also emphasized the importance of not adding/altering parts to boilers and water heaters, explaining why doing so can create explosion risks and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Chamber Manager Jerry Apker stated, “ We thought the show was well attended. It was a growing year and we are looking to make improvements and changes for next year including food vendors and we’re exploring adding outdoor sports to the expo as well, including fishing, ATVs and more. The presentations went very well and were very well received; several attendees told us they found them interesting and full of helpful information.”