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New Convention Center opens Friday with the Muskegon Lakeshore Home, Garden + Boat Show

The Muskegon Lakeshore Home, Garden + Boat Show featuring 60 exhibitors from home improvement and landscaping to boat dealers and water sports begins Friday.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The $21 million VanDyk Mortgage Convention Center opens to the public Friday with the Muskegon Lakeshore Home, Garden + Boat Show. The event will showcase the 64,000-square-foot convention center on West Western Ave. in the heart of downtown Muskegon. 

Community leaders gathered outside the convention center's main entrance Monday afternoon for a ribbon-cutting event. Friday, those with tickets to the first event will get a look inside.

The larger space allows the Muskegon Lakeshore Home, Garden + Boat Show to showcase a larger number of local businesses than in previous years. The larger venue also made it possible to add boat exhibitors to the show.

“It’s a historic moment for our organization to be the first event in Muskegon’s first convention center,” said Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “We are looking forward to this becoming an annual event and a great way to celebrate the opening of seasonal related businesses along the lakeshore.”

The show will take place on Friday, April 16 from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 17 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

The Muskegon Lakeshore Home, Garden + Boat Show will be taking all necessary precautions to follow COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines to ensure the safety of exhibitors and attendees. 

Communication Manager for the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Emily Morgenstern says those precautions include limiting the number of tickets sold, requiring attendees to wear masks, and placing hand sanitizer stations throughout the convention center.

"Also in the main convention space will be having one-way traffic," said Morgenstern.

Do-It-Yourself and demonstration seminars will be taught by local businesses on both Friday and Saturday. 

This year’s seminars includes: 

  • Floral arranging by Skeeter Parkhouse of Wasserman’s Flowers and Gifts
  • Cooking demonstrations featuring Kaja Thornton-Hunter of Kaja’s Flavor and Corine Rose from Corine’s Cakes and Catering
  • A painting class from Create.a.frame ART Studio
  • Tips for selling your home by Dirk Stone of Dirk Stone Real Estate Group
  • Boater safety training by Freedom Boat Club
  • Mold remediation by Complete Restoration & Cleaning Services
  • How to make selling your home easy by Sherry Zuidema of Verge Realty

In addition to exhibitors and seminars, the home show will have free flowers from Wasserman’s Flowers and Gifts (while supplies last), plus a 15% off discount for Walker’s Restaurant with a purchase of a show ticket. 

Preshow tickets are available online now at muskegonhgs.org for $8. Tickets will also be available day of the show for $10. Kids 12 and under are free!

The show features over 60 exhibitors including everything from home improvement and landscaping to boat dealers and water sports.

"This opportunity to be in front of so many people who are in the area who are excited about their homes indoors and outdoors, I mean I enjoy walking the venue," said Blended Furniture Market Owner RandiLynn Talsma. 

Talsma's store in Norton Shores is an annual exhibitor at the show. She's excited the convention center is much larger than the previous venue. It means she'll be able to display more items from the store.

"I think right now for all of us we're ready to see this new space, but it's fun to get to engage with people and to show some of our product," said Talsma. 

The gathering space the new convention center brings to downtown Muskegon is expected to grow the Muskegon area economy.

"It makes us more of a year-round destination," said Muskegon County Visitor's Bureau Director Bob Lukens. "Now we can have events, meetings, conventions year-round in Muskegon."

Eleven other events are booked for the VanDyk Mortgage Convention Center.

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