(Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS) Graham Vanstone, project coordinator of the Ridge Meadows Home Show, says that mud is the biggest issue organizers of the Ridge Meadows Home Show have to deal with. See video @ mapleridgenews.com

Muddy field leads to changes at Ridge Meadows Home Show

Outdoor vendors have been scaled back and the food trucks relocated due to water saturated field.

Mud. That’s the single biggest issue organizers of the Ridge Meadows Home Show have had to deal with every year, and this one is going to be no different.

With the recent rain and inclement weather Maple Ridge has seen, the grassy area on the east side of the gravel pathway at the Albion Fairgrounds is saturated with water and likely won’t dry out before the early May show.

Last year, the Food Truck Festival was located in this area, but Graham Vanstone, project coordinator for the Ridge Meadows Home Show, jokes that it should have been an area for mud bogging instead.

“Unfortunately, we had three months of really bad weather and there was also a beaver dam that we didn’t know about,” said Vanstone, adding that because the grounds are so close to sea level, the water had nowhere to go.

The Home Show team brought three dump truck loads of gravel, then three more of bark mulch, then about $3,000 worth of plywood to build roads for the food trucks to drive on.

Organizers also put plastic and tarps down on the grounds to keep the water off it during the week when they were setting up, but to no avail.

“We did the best we could and, for us, that’s usually 110 per cent effort,” said the Home Show’s executive director Cass Winder, who is worried about the water this year.

“There’s not much you can do when you have that much water but hope for the best,” said Vanstone.

Over a span of 10 years, money from the Home Show has gone towards upgrades at the fairgrounds, including partnering with the City of Maple Ridge to put the lighting and electrical work underground, putting in drainage, raising about one third of the grounds and covering the pump station chain link fence.

In all, Vanstone estimates that the Home Show has contributed more than $100,000 to upgrades.

This year, Vanstone and Winder have come up with another plan. They are going to scale back the exhibitors booths that are usually set up in the outdoor area. And the food trucks are going to line the gravel pathway leading to the turn-a-round where parking lot shuttle carts drop off and pick up show-goers.

“We will just have less outdoor booths, the actual activities that families and kids will be able to enjoy will be the same, if not a little bigger,” Vanstone said, adding that the challenge this year will be getting water and power to the food truck vendors.

“It just creates more logistics on our end as far as getting power over there,” said Vanstone.

This is a temporary move.

“Until the plan that city staff have been working with us hopefully goes to council in June for approval,” said Vanstone.

That plan will see the area from the main stage to the gravel turn-a-round, and from the gravel path east about 91 metres, filled with a gravel substrate for new drainage.

The city is also planning to run conduit for water and additional electrical work underground, filling it with gravel and top soil for the grass to grow.

If council approves the plan, Vanstone is hoping the project will start at the end of August, leaving enough time for the grass to germinate before the fall.

The Ridge Meadows Home Show is one of western Canada’s largest such events.

The Ridge Meadows Home Show runs May 4, 5, and 6 at Planet Ice and the Maple Ridge Fairgrounds at its new address 23588 Jim Robson Way. Parking is free.

There will be more than 375 exhibitor booths on site this year, showcasing everything a person needs to renovate, decorate and landscape their home, including renovation booths, construction booths, booths on decor, furnishings, electronics, landscaping, wellness, housewares and cooking.

In the lobby of the Golden Ears Winter Club will be the sampling area, where vendors will be offering tastes of their products. This year will feature President’s Choice products from Real Canadian Superstore.

Upstairs at the curling rink will be the Body, Mind and Spirit Psychic Fair, which will include medium-ship and healing with Akashic Records.

The curling rink theme will be renovating, building and landscaping, and it will be where you will find information about any major home projects, including building a new deck, roofing, siding, solariums, and installation.

Haney Builders’ Supplies will be on hand to showcase new products and answer questions on how to do things.

Planet Ice will have one rink dedicated to wellness, housewares and marketplace, including unique gadgets and one-of-a-kind items. It will include jewelery, cosmetics, spas, linens and the most popular anti-aging products on the market.

There will also be a wide range of exhibitors featuring beauty, health and fitness items, including the electronic face-lift.

The other rink at Planet Ice will feature decorating, home theatre and appliances.

The building will also feature flooring, furnishings, window fashions, home renovators, hot tubs, paint, wall coverings, decor items, kitchens, appliances, electronics, woodwork and artwork.

Outdoors, the fourth annual For the Love of Dogs event will be returning to the show. Informed dog experts will be on site all three days of the show offering information on everything from pet first aid, grooming, dog classes and training and options on activities people can do with their dogs.

On the Saturday at noon and 3:30 p.m. will be the Meet the Breeds Dog Shows showcasing dog royalty from around the world and Canada’s top dogs. Visitors can then talk with owners of the dogs at a meet-and-greet following the shows. There will also be demonstrations ranging from obedience, protection, detection and agility.

The BBQ School and taste event will showcase the work of Chef Dez, who will team up with Meridian Farm Market to create mouth-watering delights from a fresh and natural line-up of offerings, from free-range and grass-fed meats raised without added growth hormones, and sustainable seafood, organic and locally harvested produce, and artisan breads baked fresh daily.

More than 15 trucks will be on site for the Food Truck Festival.

The free Family Fest has been a staple at the Ridge Meadows Home Show for more than 20 years. This year award-winning Norden the Magician will have three days of stage shows. Doolittle’s Petting Zoo will be on site with barnyard animals. Lets Build, with Haney Builders’ Supplies, will give children the chance to build and take home a free bird house.

The Friends In Need Food Bank will be giving out herb plants from Kitchen Picks.

The Springfree Trampoline Try It Zone will have three enclosed trampolines in three different sizes for the whole family to try out.

There will also be various crafts at the Creative Craft Kingdom and amusement park rides by Shooting Star Amusements.

Neil Diamond tribute artist Bobby Bruce will be performing at 1:30 p.m. on the Saturday in a concert put on especially for seniors. The first 250 seniors to arrive will enjoy complimentary coffee and cookies courtesy of McDonald’s Restaurants.

• Home Show tickets are $4 or $7 for the family.

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