Kiwanis Home and Garden Show starts Friday

ESCANABA — For over half a century, the Escanaba Kiwanis Club has served up pancakes to raise funds. The tradition will continue this weekend with the Home and Garden Show and Pancake Days, set to take place at the Ruth Butler Building at the U.P. State Fairgrounds April 5-7.

“It got started by a group of Kiwanians that wanted to come up with a new fundraiser,” Co-Chair Pat Rudden said of Pancake Days. At the time the fundraiser started, pancake mix had recently been introduced and companies were offering to give out pancake mix for promotion.

The Home and Garden Show was not initially part of the event.

“It didn’t become a home and garden show until the mid-’70s — maybe later,” Estelle Smyth said. Smyth is also a co-chair of the event.

Early on, Pancake Days was held at Carpenters Hall and empty storefronts on Ludington Street. Eventually, it had to be moved to the Ruth Butler Building to accommodate crowds — a move which Rudden said inspired the addition of the Home and Garden Show.

“We decided to expand the event to use up the building,” she said. For 2019, Rudden said she expects about 4,000 people to attend the event over the weekend.

Attendees can expect to see some fresh faces at this year’s Home and Garden Show, Rudden said.

“We’ve got about 15 brand-new vendors,” she said. These vendors will focus on home remodeling, home decorating and cooking. Additionally, vendors that have previously appeared at the Home and Garden Show will return for 2019’s show.

According to Smyth, Jasper’s Sugar Bush will both have a booth at the Home and Garden Show and support the Pancake Days side of the event.

“Jasper’s Sugar Bush is providing the homemade syrup … for all our (pancakes),” she said.

Smyth said attendees will be able to learn about gardening from MSU Extension at this year’s show.

“The MSU Extension … is doing gardening demonstrations on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” she said.

While MSU Extension has given demonstrations at the event before, Rudden said these have been updated.

“They’ve got some new presentations,” she said. Topics that will be addressed by MSU Extension include how to successfully use community garden plots and how to preserve food.

Other demonstrations will take place at the Home and Garden Show, as well.

“Rod Stende from Elmer’s County Market will be doing grilling demonstrations throughout the weekend,” Rudden said.

This year’s Home and Garden Show and Pancake Days will take place on Friday, April 5 from 5 to 8 p.m.; on Saturday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and on Sunday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission to the event is free. There is a charge for pancake meal tickets, but children under the age of six can eat free. The event is sponsored by American Metal Roofs of Northern Wisconsin.

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