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Energy Adviser: Home, garden fair blooms with ideas

From plug-in cars to tiny homes, the Clark Public Utilities’ Home and Garden Idea Fair, April 28-30, will be budding with inspiration. Held at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, the free fair has been the local kickoff to the home improvement season for homeowners and gardeners for 26 years.

The annual event hosts hundreds of exhibitors with home- and garden-related products and services; the latest in energy-efficient home technology; full-scale landscape displays; one of the largest plant sales in the region; and many hands-on, kid-oriented activities.

“The spring fair dishes up fresh ideas for your home whether you’re looking for energy efficiency, planning home projects or just dreaming,” said Heather Allmain, Clark Public Utilities communication services manager. “Every year, we help our customers connect with area nurseries, builders, remodelers, and landscapers who can help them make home and garden dreams a reality.”

The 24-by-24-foot Innovation Home by New Tradition Homes is back and showcases the newest energy-saving technology, including a tablet controlling heating and lighting levels, as well as home security. This year it even provides an alternative automobile solution — the newest plug-in Kia Soul on display courtesy of Dick Hannah Dealerships.

In the Clark Public Utilities’ booth, energy counselors will provide energy-saving tips and answer questions about current utility programs and incentives. Anyone considering a smart thermostat must stop by and ask about their benefits, as well as the recently announced $50 rebate on qualifying Ecobee and Nest models.

“The Idea Fair inspires county residents to seek the services of local landscapers, builders, nurseries, farmers and other businesses, which strengthens our area’s economy,” said Allmain.

The Washington Association of Landscaping Professionals hosts the Landscape Showcase at one end of the hall, and the Building Industry Association and Think! Campaign sponsor the guest speakers stage nearby.

Across the midway, the Specialty Nursery Association of Clark County hosts one of the largest plant sales in Southwest Washington. Gardeners can chat with plant and landscaping pros, as well as listen to speakers on various home subjects from backyard bees and bats to home renovations throughout the weekend.

The Vancouver Clinic hosts the KidZone this year, providing three days of Mad Science as well as many other free hands-on crafts and projects. In the KidZone, visitors of all ages can learn about the power of electricity, how it works and how to stay safe around electric equipment.

The Home Garden Idea Fair attracts more than 20,000 attendees every year. This makes it among the most popular community events in the county. Admission is free but cash donations to Operation Warm Heart or canned food contributions for local food banks are encouraged. Also bring burned-out CFLs for safe recycling in exchange for two new LED bulbs per household. Canned food and CFLs can be deposited at any entry gate.

Save the $6 fairgrounds parking fee by catching the free shuttle from the 99th Street or Fisher’s Landing transit centers to the event venue at 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield. For the shuttle schedule and other fair details, visit

“As a public utility, this annual event has become a way for us to give back to our community,” said Allmain. “Hundreds of our employees volunteer their time to make this event happen and we all look forward to seeing our customers face to face each year and sharing updates on utility programs and services!”

Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.

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