Colorado Convention Center: 700 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202
February 13-21 (hours of operation vary on the day)
Adults: $12, Seniors: $10, Kids 12 and under: Free
Saturday morning, my husband and I got a sneak peek at the Colorado Garden and Home Show at the Colorado Convention Center before it opened to the public. This year, the annual event expects around 60,000 people to come through the doors; 14,000 on the first day alone. Needless to say, it was enjoyable to visit the 600+ local and national vendors and exhibitionists before everyone else got there.
Upon arrival, the 5,500 ft. entry garden that you see is phenomenal. With 250 tons of rock, pavers, etc., it was clearly a project worthy of pride. There are 10 smaller gardens scattered throughout the exhibition hall that are also quite lovely, however there was something that struck me about the entry garden. Why are there mannequins zip-lining and climbing the walls?
At first I was confused, but once I saw that the Colorado Garden Foundation (CGF) partnered with Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS), it made sense. COBS takes people on expeditions around Colorado and Utah. Although college and adult trips are an option, I was interested in the trips for middle and high school age kids (ages 12 and up). I have a son who turns 12 this month, so I wanted to know what the trips are about. One perk is that electronics are not allowed on any of the expeditions. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that my kids love their electronics, no matter how much I try to limit it. I loved the idea that my son would need to be broken of that for a week while exploring the outdoors and working on social skills and team building.
An outdoorsy/educational angle fits the show as the CGF awards grants to organizations and scholarships to individuals throughout Colorado. Every penny raised by the foundation is donated. In fact, they work hard to raise money to give it away. As their website boasts, “In the past 58 years, organizations throughout Colorado have received grants totaling over $6.8 million from Colorado Garden Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to furthering the horticultural industry.”
Many of the vendors make all of their money for the year at these events so, of course, they love being part of it. The show also allows a platform for the vendors to give visitors discounts on their products and services. So, if you are in the mood to remodel, do some landscaping, or just add some pizzazz to your home or garden, this is a good place to start.
Full disclosure, my husband and I are not remodeling or landscaping. My husband is that guy who likes to do everything on his own and everything perfectly. All of the work that we have been doing on our home (save for our concrete patio) has been by his hand with a little of my help. That said, we did not leave empty-handed. In addition to leaving with many great ideas for styles and materials, we left with a few things that I wouldn’t have expected at a home and garden show; namely fantastic hot packs (for our aging bodies) and a Sleep Number bed (Ask for Raven. She was awesome.)
Needless to say, if you love gardens, the outdoors, or just getting ideas to do with or around your home, this is the event for you. You will be donating to a great foundation and finding some deals at the same time.