The Home Builders Association of Owensboro’s Home & Garden Show, scheduled for March 12-14, has been canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the first time in its 28-year history that the event has been canceled.

Richard Stallings, executive officer of the association, said making the decision was hard.

“That show is so important for creating future business,” he said. “That was our greatest concern.”

But the show attracts between 2,500 and 3,000 people a year and another 300 to 400 people work at the show.

Keeping everyone safe and socially distanced in the Owensboro Convention Center was going to be hard, Stallings said.

“As much as we want to do it,” he said, “we want to keep everybody safe and healthy.”

Last year’s show finished days before the pandemic hit Owensboro.

“The last two years for homebuilders have been the best in more than a decade,” Stallings said. “Home starts are up 27% this year.”

The Home & Garden Show is canceled, but he said, “We’ll do other stuff this year.”

The lineup in the 44,000-square-foot exhibit hall usually includes plumbers, electricians, heating and air conditioning companies, remodelers, custom builders, bath refitters, carpet companies, window companies, insulation companies, window blinds companies, pool companies, lawn care companies, landscapers, furniture stores, fence companies, pest control companies, paint stores, appliance stores, garage door companies, gutter companies, mole control companies, kitchen remodelers, chimney services and more.

Although it’s never been canceled in the past, the show has moved several times through the years.

But it finally found a long-term home in 2014, when the convention center opened.

“The convention center is perfect for it,” Stallings said.

The show started in 1994 at the RiverPark Center, moved to the Sportscenter in 1998 and then to the Expo Center at the Executive Inn in 2001.

When the Executive Inn closed in 2008, the show moved to the MidAmerica Jet hangars at Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.

It stayed there until 2012, when it moved to a warehouse at 2727 Kentronics Drive.

The next year it was at the Sportscenter.

The convention center is the only place in town large enough for the show now, Stallings said.

It’s much bigger than it was in the days when it moved around.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence @messenger-inquirer.com

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