Sometimes, bigger is better.

Like when you’ve got about a dozen home projects you’ve been thinking about doing, and aren’t sure who to ask for advice. Or where to find them.

The 21st annual Maine Home, Remodeling and Garden Show — scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland — is a place where you might find answers.

A lot of answers.

By early February, the show had booked more than 180 exhibitors representing a wide variety of products and services for the home. The exhibitors include carpenters, contractors, security companies, painters, cleaners, handyman companies, pest specialists, landscapers and businesses that deal with energy and energy efficiency.

Some of the products you’ll be able to ask about include solar panels, heating systems, insulation, candles, counter tops, pillows, Tupperware, vacuum cleaners, windows, bathtubs, water pumps, closet organizers and swimming pools.

While the show represents a broad range of home improvement areas, there is a focus this year on eco-friendly or energy-efficient ways to update and renovate your home, said Cyndi Dickson O’Connor, a partner in the company that organizes the show, Dickson & McGonigle.

“I think there are a lot of energy-efficient products out there that people might not know about yet,” said O’Connor. “There’s nothing like being able to stand belly to belly with people and ask questions, to be able to ask, ‘If I change my water heater to this, how much will I save?’ “

Specifically, some of the local exhibitors include Castle Kitchens, Breggy Oil & Propane, EZ Clean Central Vac Systems, Fortin Construction, Frost and Flame, TC Hafford Basement Systems, Vic’s Appliance Center and Zero Draft Insulation & Energy Solutions.

Besides the exhibitors — who will be available to talk with people throughout the show — there will be seminars and clinics on home improvement topics.

Saturday’s seminars begin at 11 a.m. and include talks on energy-efficient windows, color trends, hiring a contractor, geothermal heating, closet organizing, wind turbines, solar heating, fireplaces, pest control and bathroom renovations, as well as workshops where children can make birdhouses. Sunday’s seminars will include many of the same as Saturday’s plus a few others, including one on kitchen remodeling.

On both days, the show will bring back the popular “Meet the Chefs” series, in which local chefs create dishes in a special kitchen constructed on site.

There will be at least one nationally known chef at the show as well.

At 12:15 p.m. Sunday, Mary Ann Esposito of the PBS cooking show “Ciao Italia” will prepare two dishes. Esposito has appeared at the show before, and has told organizers she enjoys coming.

“We’ve forged a great relationship with Mary Ann over the years, and she loves doing our shows,” said O’Connor. “Last year, she had one of the exhibitors build an outdoor pizza oven for her.”

Esposito will also be signing copies of her books after her demonstration, at about 1:15 p.m.

Some of the local chefs who will be giving cooking demonstrations are Justin Standley of Black Tie Catering in Portland; Harding Smith, chef-owner of The Grill Room, Front Room and Corner Room, all in Portland; Troy Mains, chef at 10 Water Restaurant at Captain Daniel Stone Inn, Brunswick; Guy Hernandez, chef/owner of Bar Lola in Portland; and chef Bo Byrne, from David’s 388 in South Portland.

For sale at the show will be candles, candy, pottery, stained glass, wrought iron and many other craft and gift items.

“It’s really not just for homeowners. Apartment dwellers can get ideas too,” said O’Connor. “We try to have something for everyone.”

For people who miss the event, Dickson & McGonigle have scheduled two other home shows in the area later this year.

The Seacoast Home & Garden Show is scheduled for March 26-27 in Durham, N.H.; and the Northern New England Home, Garden and Flower Show in Fryeburg is scheduled for May 13-15.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791–7324 or at:

[email protected]