The homey smells of apple pie and french fries wafted over from the concessions stand as people walked between rows of tile, kitchen cabinets and window displays inside the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Children stood by, enthralled, as a man made balloon animals for them to play with while their parents daydreamed about home improvements.
Anna Martin was among the dreamers.
"We are here to get ideas about our future home we'll be building," she said.
Martin was one of thousands attending the 47th annual Tri-State Home Show, which showcased about 480 vendors of everything from lavatories to landscaping.
All those vendors meant plenty of choices. Martin said the day had been successful, but overwhelming.
"You think you know what you want until you see something better, and then you go, 'Well, scratch that,'" she said.
Teresa Groves, the executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga, said about 12,000 people attended the event over its three-day run.
"A lot of people come back year after year," she said. "They can only do one or two projects a year, and they know they can trust our vendors, so they come see what they have to offer."
David Graves, owner of Complete Roofing and Exterior Designs Inc. in Ooltewah, said a number of those he talked to were looking for help fixing up after the damaging storms and tornadoes of recent years.
"Many homeowners have been inspired by a lot of the storms," Graves said. "For example, their insurance company paid to replace their roof, but now the siding doesn't match."
Graves said many of these buyers are opting for a long-lasting, more maintenance-free exterior. He pointed to a number of vinyl siding displays. "They're going for the vinyl stacked-stone look," he said. "All you have to do with that is keep it clean."
Buyers are leaning towards durability indoors, as well.
In the kitchen, solid-surface countertops such as granite and concrete are much more popular than laminates, said Bill Park, a project manager for Mountain City Tile. Porcelain tiles are a growing trend in flooring, Park said.
"Porcelain is nonporous and therefore much more durable," he said.
For Frank Davis, a Chattanooga homeowner, the day had been profitable.
Davis was searching for ways to save money on do-it-yourself projects around his home.
Davis said he's thinking of redoing his kitchen and that he spoke with a number of contractors who could help him make those ideas a reality.
"I'm just looking for simple upgrades," he said. "I come every year. They've got some good ideas."
Lindsay Burkholder is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She graduated from Covenant College in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. While at Covenant she spent time writing for and editing the news section of the school newspaper, The Bagpipe. Burkholder also attended the World Journalism Institute in New York City in 2011.
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