Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

The doors will open at 9 a.m. Saturday to one of the biggest, most popular free events at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds.The 33rd annual Home and Garden Show, sponsored by The Union Democrat, promises to be packed with information, food and prizes.

"We have 30 new exhibitors this year, bringing the total to well over 100," said show coordinator Peggy Pietrowicz. "I'm excited to present this year's show and working with the local and visiting businesses who will exhibit their products and services. I invite people to browse through the fairgrounds, sign up for prize drawings, eat lunch and take all the information they want home with them."

Pietrowicz pointed out that beer and wine will be available again this year. Proceeds from alcohol sales will benefit the Sonora Chamber of Commerce to fund their community activities. The beer and wine booth is located in the Muir Garden.

Many exhibitors will offer special discount prices on anything sold at the show.

The most valuable giveaways will include brochures, literature and information on the latest in home and garden improvements, real estate, spas, home heating and air conditioning, plumbing, painting and much more.

The show will run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Parking and admission are free, but parking at the fairgrounds is limited and is usually full before noon each day. Street parking is available in the area, but limited. To ease the crunch, a free shuttle bus will run continuously between the fairgrounds and The Junction shopping center near T.J. Maxx.

Police Cadet Explorer Post 364, sponsored by the Sonora Police Department, will again direct traffic and parking at the fairgrounds. A limited number of handicapped parking spots are available at the front gate.

Pietrowicz said she expects 10,000 visitors over the two days.

"The least crowded times to come are early and late," she said. "The fairgrounds can get pretty packed between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. if the weather cooperates."

In addition to the commercial exhibitors, a number of civic organizations and agencies are participating, with proceeds going to community causes.

The Kiwanis Club of Sonora will serve hamburgers and tri-tip sandwiches as well as pulled-pork sandwiches, Polish sausages and baked potatoes. They will be inside and outside the Sierra Building.

The Kiwanis Club of Groveland will serve food in the Manzanita Building. Menu items will include breakfast burritos, beef, bean-and-cheese burritos, nachos, corn dogs and soft pretzels. All proceeds from these food sales benefit community projects.

In addition to the service clubs, Jana's Coffee Can will serve coffee, coffee specialty drinks, smoothies and snacks. Mi-Wuk Kettle Corn will offer their fresh-cooked kettle corn, Island Snow Tiki Hut will served shaved ice in many different flavors and the Lemonade Yard will return with fresh lemonade served in a refillable collector's cup.

Sonora Regional Medical Center's health van will act as a first aid station.