Pond show takes shape at fairgrounds
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent April 24, 2014 7:38PM
A water feature created by Cutters Edge is one of the many displays features in The Waterscape Weekend in Crown Point on April 23, 2014. | Jim Karczewski\For Sun-Times Media
If you go
WHAT: Illiana Garden Pond Society spring showcase “Color Your World”
WHERE: Lake County Fairgrounds Industrial Arts Building, Crown Point
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
COST: Adults $5; children 15 and younger free
Updated: May 26, 2014 6:16AM
CROWN POINT — Workers stayed busy this week moving massive quantities of stone, paver blocks, mulch and plants to transform the Industrial Arts Building at the Lake County Fairgrounds into a landscaping paradise.
The behind-the-scenes effort a week in the making is designed to provide a little springtime inspiration to visitors to the 13th annual Illiana Garden Pond Society spring showcase Saturday and Sunday.
Co-chairwomen Kathy Bartley and Betsy Shurke were standing watch over the mammoth effort that began Monday and will be complete by Friday morning when smaller vendors peddling everything from pond fish to painted stones set up their booths for the garden show extravaganza.
“We have landscaping in every corner of the building to entice people into designing their own backyards,” Bartley said.
This year, 58 vendors including eight new sellers will pack the building for the weekend event that is expected to draw close to 3,000 visitors.
“We will have water features in every corner of the building,” she said.
Doug Molchan, owner of South County Landscaping in Crown Point, was busy with his business’s elaborate display shared with Alsip Home & Nursery of St. John. Together the two businesses take over the entire north wing of the building in what has become the shows largest display.
It will take his staff about 1,000 man hours to transform 12 pallets of Unilock pavers, 500 to 600 plants, 10 tons of boulders, three tons of gravel and 80 to 100 yards of mulch along with a variety of other garden supplies into the completed display that shows off options for outdoor landscaping and decor.
This year’s display includes a Hobbit tunnel for children, 10 different water features, an outdoor fireplace and sitting area, gazebo and a variety of the latest trend — fairy gardens.
“Every year we try to change it up,” Molchan said. This is his 10th year participating in the show.
The goal is to make the display seem as if it has always been there, he said. Benches will provide spots for visitors to sit and enjoy the scenery, which features two waterfalls and a brightly colored crayon fountain in keeping with this year’s show theme, “Color Your World.”
Lots of colorful annuals and perennials will brighten the hardscape. The setup may seem elaborate, Molchan said, but it is designed in a way that any homeowner could implement the features into their own yards. Everything seen in the displays is for sale.
“Nothing is going overboard. You don’t have to have a big yard to do this,” he said.