The top old house expos in the U.S.

Shannon Lee

When you're planning on an old house purchase, looking to renovate, or itching to restore, you might need some advice. Though you can get a great deal of help from a good contractor, online sites dedicated to old houses, and the anecdotes of friends and neighbors, there are few things that can give you a crash course in everything concerning old houses like the old house expo.

Old house expos and fairs are a source of vast amounts of information, all in one convenient place. But for as exciting as they may be, old house expos are also time-consuming and sometimes expensive. If you can only afford to hit a few of these great events, these are some of the best options:

Old House Expo hosted by Old House Network

Since 2006, the Old House Expo has offered a wide variety of informative, entertaining sessions for those in love with old houses. This annual Michigan event offers two to three educational tracks, covering everything from financing to maintenance to restoration of historical details. While you're there, check out information on the wide variety of hands-on workshops offered throughout the year. At under ten dollars per person, this is a show that offers your money's worth within the first one-hour session.

Old House Fair hosted by Nashville Historical Commission

Centrally located to numerous cities and towns, Nashville, TN is home to a thriving historical home scene. This free one-day event showcases funding renovations, choosing suppliers, enhancing energy efficiency, mitigating lead paint issues, specific repairs, and more. Raffles, activities for children, and a wide variety of presentations are sure to make this a day to remember.

The Great Big Home and Garden Show

This is definitely a big event -- the 2014 show lasted for nine days, included over 600 exhibitors and even offered celebrity appearances. The show is held in Cleveland, OH and costs less than $15 for admission. Though this event is dedicated to homes of any age, many participating vendors offer products suitable for old house renovation and restoration.

Premiere Home Shows

Want to find a home show that is much closer to…well, home? Premiere Home Shows sponsors a variety of shows across the nation, from Seattle to Tampa, offering hundreds of exhibitors and countless opportunities to improve your home. Whether new construction or ancient beauty, these home shows offer something for everyone.

Old House and Barn Expo hosted by New Hampshire Preservation Alliance

This unique one-day event touches on everything from historic wallpaper to barn repair. The 2014 show offered over 60 exhibitors, hourly lectures, and inspiring demonstrations. At less than ten dollars per ticket, attendees received quite the education in all things old house -- and old barn!

Old House Expo and Cake Contest hosted by the Monroe County Historic Preservation Board

Finally, a list of old house expos and fairs wouldn't be complete without something quirky, and here it is: An expo with an architectural cake contest thrown in. This free, yearly event is held in Bloomington, IN. In addition to exhibitors who specialize in old houses and old house products, bakers are invited to create their best renditions of historic landmarks and present them in a sweet contest -- with free cake for all!

Remember that any old house expo or fair is a learning experience. To that end, bring along a tote bag to hold brochures and samples, a notebook and pen to write down valuable information, and a snack to keep you going if you get too caught up in the excitement to break for lunch. And don't forget the comfortable shoes -- it's going to be a long and enjoyable visit!

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