BRISTOL - The 32nd Annual Home show was packed Saturday with crowds of people, moving from booth to booth and visiting with more than 150 local vendors and crafters.
From Cannolis to Catholic Schools, there was something for everyone at the Bristol Home Show. Several local business owners praised the event for the exposure that it granted them. Several city residents said that they had been coming to the Home Show for as many as 10 years, curious to see what services and products were available. Cindy Scoville, president and CEO of the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce said that 100 people were lined up out the door at 10:30 a.m., a half-hour before the event officially opened. It has been packed ever since.
“We’re greeting people as they come in and showing them our newsletter and our 2017 directory,” she said.
Jessica Cadogan, parent ambassador coordinator with Bristol Catholic Schools manned a table for St. Joseph and St. Matthew’s Schools along with help from volunteer school children. She was joined by Sean Mowad, the chairman and coordinator for the two schools.
“We’re trying to make the public aware of what we offer,” said Mowad. “A lot of people assume that Catholic schools just teach religion, but it’s so much more. We also teach family values and sports and we’re like a family, always involved with each other.”
“We also want people to know that we are still a viable option,” said Cadogan. “We are the second cheapest Catholic school in the Hartford archdiocese.”
John Caron, manager of Larson’s Garden Center, came to the Home Show for the first time Saturday. He said that the family who started the business, currently located in Burlington, began on Route 6 in Bristol in 1919.
“I’m glad we came,” he said. “A lot of people remember us from when we were in Bristol and weren’t aware that we relocated. With Spring coming soon, we are preparing to re-open Easter week and will have a full array of popular Easter flowers available along with statuary.”
Bill Fontaine, owner of Fontaine Mechanical, has been coming to the Bristol Home Show for the past 11 years. He said that it is good to get involved with if you are a local business.
“There’s a reason I keep coming back,” he said. “With Spring on the way, people may be thinking about replacing their air conditioning and I’m here to answer questions for them.”
Mark Blain and his wife Debra, the owners of Boston-based Simply Cannoli, came to the Home Show for the first time this year. Blain praised it as one of the few affordable home shows around.
“We’ve been doing it for six years now and we’ve finally managed to make a name for ourselves,” he said, serving customers Cannolis with almonds, chocolate chips and other toppings.
City Councilor was at the table for the Democratic Town Committee, listening to the concerns of residents who stopped by.
“This is a great event for the city,” he said. “People come here to figure out how they can re-invest in their home city. We’re mostly here to listen to people and get their feedback for what they would like to see happen in the city. A lot of them said they want to see something happen downtown and that they want to protect Memorial Boulevard and see that our taxes are kept low.”
Charles Levesque, of Bristol, said that he visited several tables including Sears and the radio station 102.9 The Whale.
“I like this event very much,” he said. “It was very educational.”
Elizabeth Davis, of Bristol, said that she has been coming to the show for 10 years. Last year, she bought new windows with J C Tonnotti Window Co., who had a table this year. She said that she was very happy with the purchase.
“I live just up the street and I like to get information about different things that are out there that I don’t know about,” she said.
Sue Toomey came to the Bristol Home Show for the first time this year.
“It was very nice and well organized,” she said. “I stopped at the jewelry tables and I would come back again.”
David Potz and his friend, Bob Badel, perused the tables together.
“I always enjoy it,” said Potz. “I’ve been coming each year as long as it has been held. I like to walk around and see what’s new and meet the politicians that I run into. I like to see how things change and improve.”
Badel, a local veteran and member of the American Legion who served in Germany from 1964 to 1965, said he has been coming to the event for 10 years or more as well.
“It gives you a chance to see a lot of different vendors and the services that they offer,” he said. “I will be stopping back to Frontier Communications’ table. The young lady there was very good to me, so I will be switching over to them.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.