You haven’t truly lived until you’ve seen a two year-old meet Bob The Builder in the flesh. To construction-oriented toddlers, Bob is like Jay-Z and Justin Bieber rolled into one, a hardhat-wearing, tape-measure-toting, larger-than-life icon. Since BtB is usually computer-animated on my PVR, I never held out too much hope that my son Felix (who at 20 months knows about 30 words, one of which is “Bob”) would get to meet his hero…but then the 2012 Calgary Home + Design Show came to town, headlined by The Builder himself, and we got the opportunity to make our child’s dreams come true. As evidenced by the pics below (that’s Felix in the brown t-shirt and jeans), it was a near-religious experience.
The Home + Design Show packs the BMO Centre on the Stampede grounds with interactive displays as far as the eye can see encompassing every conceivable type of improvement you’d ever think to make to your home: there are renovators and hardwood floor specialists, driftwood furniture sellers and pimped-out jacuzzi makers, fireplace gurus and titanium cookware peddlers, even companies specializing in residential installations of projection-screen-aided golf simulators (which, after a couple of trial swings at the show this afternoon, I now desperately want for Christmas). Home designers and interior decorators are on hand and on call to offer impromptu free advice about your most pressing domestic design issues at the Ask A Designer exhibit. Food trucks wait just outside to cater to your dietary whims. Hundreds of display booths pack the Centre, and two large stages (one for cooking and the Main Stage for design) offer a near-constant array of presentations by local and national industry celebrities; when we were there, one of the chefs from Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria in Mission was sharing secrets about crafting the perfect pie while a few hundred metres away the stars of HGTV’s Urban Suburban shared municipal location advice based on their in-show experiences.
However, on this day, the Home + Design Show’s Family Day, Bob was king. At 4:00, an army of diaper-wearing zealots gathered at the Main Stage, sang along to the theme music, shouted “YES WE CAN!” to every “Can we fix it?” and “Can we build it?” coming from the stage, danced, sang and generally lost their minds over the course of a glorious half-hour show that was bravely and enthusiastically narrated by The Builder’s human on-stage counterpart Kim Marcus (quite possibly a fake/character name, but all I have to go by). Bob himself was amazingly near-identical to what Felix and countless others have grown up watching on TV, from his costume to his mannerisms to his dead-ringer voice, and he had an army of tiny children lining up to meet and take pictures with him after the performance. My own miniature Bob fan was so overwhelmed by meeting the legend that he basically broke down once getting within six feet of him, but for most of the other kids this was better than Santa, a moment that will be remembered for years to come. Unfortunately The Builder was a Family-Day-only offering, but unless you’re my son, there are plenty of other reasons to check out the Home + Design Show this weekend…you will definitely leave with more design and reno ideas than you walked in with.
The Calgary Home + Design show runs from September 20th to 23rd; for this weekend, hours are 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $14 for adults and $11 for children 13-17 (kids 12 & under get in free), but according to the show’s website, if you order online you get $3 off. Don’t say I never did anything for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to pull the Bob The Builder books out of my son’s hands so that I can put him to bed on his Bob The Builder duvet and Bob The Builder pillow.