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Omaha Home Show offers expert advice, demonstrations – Omaha World

Cooking, gardening, technology and more: That’s what you’ll find at the Metro Omaha Builders Association (MOBA) Omaha Home Show this weekend at the CenturyLink Center.

“Whether you’ve been in your home for years or are just moving in, the show is a one-stop shop for all your needs,” said Jaylene Eilenstine, MOBA’s executive director.

The show, which runs Friday through Sunday, is a signature event for MOBA, which marks its 70th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Eilenstine said, “We’ve added some enhancements” to the show schedule.

Meet the Builders Corner is an example, with MOBA members available to answer questions and offer advice to show-goers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for anybody who wants to build a home or make an addition,” Eilenstine said.

MOBA’s experts will be on hand Friday from noon to 3 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Also new is a look at technology from exhibitors like VirtuActive, a drafting and design company that translates blueprints and floor plans into 3D renderings.

“We can design a custom house from scratch based on your ideas, or we can fine-tune an existing house plan,’’ said president and lead designer Brian Friehe.

While 3D technology has been available to architecture firms and the commercial industry for some time, until recently it was cost-prohibitive for the average consumer, Friehe said.

“It (VirtuActive) gives consumers a little more power in working with contractors and eases that anxiety of wondering whether something will turn out the way that you think it will,” Friehe said.

Exhibitor David Treadway, a residential sales specialist with Electrical Engineering Equipment Company, or 3E, said he is looking forward to demonstrating just how much homeowners can do with new technology.

“It’s endless what you can control from a remote location through WiFi. You can use your phone as a remote control for your furnace or air conditioner. You can check security or turn lights off and on,” he said.

Today’s smart options are particularly popular with millennials who want to control everything off their cellphone, Treadway said. “People between 21 and 38 use their phones to pay their bills and buy coffee. Now they can control their lights and their heating and cooling through their phones with an app.”

For people who like to focus more on nature than technology, Kehm Contractors will showcase the latest trends in landscaping. Among them, the combination of materials such as cedar, granite, pavers, blocks, fire and water into one landscape design.

“People want to see those raw elements right next to one another, and they’re trying to find more and more ways to put those things together,” said landscape specialist James Tardy. “They don’t just want a fire pit. It’s about having an outdoor space where they can have a glass of wine, enjoy dinner with their friends or just sit and enjoy the sound of the water feature. They want to be able to experience it all.”

Of course, part of outdoor living includes a beautiful lawn and garden, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, specialists from NET’s popular “Backyard Farmer” TV show will address topics such as turf/grass, pathology, entomology, critters and horticulture.

Kim Todd, the program’s host, said the focus is on providing objective, science-based answers in a way that is easily understood and benefits both experienced gardeners and novices.

“We have everyone from people who have never grown anything to people who are experts in their own area,” Todd said. One of the ways “Backyard Farmer” will explore the region’s needs is through a demonstration and QA format.

“It will be something that is show-and-tell and an opportunity for us to say, ‘This is something we think is important or interesting or wild and crazy,’ and to take questions from the audience,” she said.

While growing food is a popular topic, so is cooking it, and Summer Miller, author of the best-selling, critically acclaimed cookbook, “New Prairie Kitchen,” will demonstrate some of her favorite recipes.

The veteran food journalist spent four years traveling Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota chronicling farmers, growers, food craftspeople and the chefs who support them.

Miller will share what she has learned on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. She’ll be in an interactive setting where participants can join her for cooking demonstrations and help her prepare — and sample — sweet corn chowder with bacon and sweet corn salsa and strawberry shortcake with rhubarb compote.

“Since this is a spring event, I wanted to highlight some of the flavors of spring,” she said of her dessert choice from “New Prairie Kitchen.”

“Instead of the traditional shortcake that’s spongy, this take on strawberry shortcake is kind of like a cookie. It’s one of my favorite things from the book, and I make it all the time.”

For the author, the event is also an opportunity to meet fans and take a low-key approach to the kitchen.

“I like being able to go to these events and share with people,” Miller said. “The interaction is great, because cooking is a social experience.”

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