PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After more than a year of renovations with an estimated $33 million dollar price tag, the Cumberland County Civic Center is now open for business.
This weekend's Home, Remodeling and Garden Show is the first event open to the public.
Virginia Avery from Wells was the first patron to walk through the ticket entry doors. She was greeted with a plaque commemorating her being the first guest inside the newly renovated Civic Center and she was also given a flower bouquet.
"My flowers I didn't get yesterday," said Avery. She had no idea she and her husband would be the first. "He just likes to be first and we never make it to be first."
Beth Alles, the organizer of show, said there was much anticipation surrounding the new facility which had an impact on the how quickly the vendors signed-on to the event.
"People were excited for this year. We were definitely sold out earlier than we have been in the past." 180 vendors is typical of the last 24 years the Civic Center has hosted the show, but the new loading docks made it easier for them to set up with the new layout.
"We have a lot more artisans and booths up in the concourse and lobby because now there's a lot more space up here," said Allen.
"It went very smoothly," said Lisa Getchall of Solarize Winter Isulators. "All the different loading docks are wonderful. Years prior, we didn't have to fight but we had to stay in line."
Some people complained to staff about the vendors cramping up traffic along the concourse this year. The Cumberland County Civic Center's Coordinator of Events acknowledged that saying, "When you're opening a new building there's always little bugs that get worked out on your first event. You try to to get those things taken care of. We need to kind of go through and fine tune everything."
The Maine Home, Remodeling and Garden Show is open Saturday, 10AM to 6PM. And 10AM to 4PM on Sunday. Tickets cost $8 for adults and the event is free for children under 6 years of age. For more information, click here: http://maine.newenglandexpos.com/show-information/