Nearly 100 vendors are expected to turn out March 16 at the 27th annual Long Island Builders Institute Home, Trade and Remodeling Expo at the Hilton Long Island in Melville.

Here are five suggestions for getting the most out of your visit:

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SUPPORT SHELTER PETS: Cats and dogs in Long Island’s municipal shelters are likely to give this year’s pet playhouse build-off two enthusiastic paws up. Participants in the contest have been paired with a town shelter, whose director chose the type of playhouse they’d like built. “We wanted to show the creativity in the building industry and associated trades,” says Jay Ratto, the home show’s chair for the last seven years and owner of J. Ratto Landscaping. In Huntington, the dog shelter will be the subject of East Meadow-based Alure Home Improvements’ handiwork, says A.J. Carter, spokesman for Supervisor Frank Petrone. “We’re looking forward to seeing what Alure comes up with,” he says. An additional playhouse will be raffled off, with proceeds benefiting Long Island Home Builders Care, the organization’s charitable arm. Visit libi.org to download an entry from; the minimum suggested donation is $20.

GIVE YOUR HOME A FACE-LIFT: In addition to general contractors, builders and landscape specialists, appliance heavyweights such as Plesser’s, P.C. Richards and Huntington’s Appliance World will be showcasing their merchandise. HVAC companies are ready to keep you cool this summer, and to handle the bureaucratic stuff, permit experts, inspectors, surveyors, bonding companies and insurers are ready to roll up their sleeves. Didn’t find what you needed? Tell LIBI and they’ll help connect you with the right people, Ratto says.

CUT OUT THE MIDDLE-MAN: Ratto says LIBI’s show, which is geared toward the trades but open to the public as well, is an ideal opportunity to shop directly with the manufacturers. Riverhead Building Supply and Kleet Lumber are two of the major lumberyards on hand as vendors; Windows by Andersen will also be exhibiting. Architects will be in the mix if you’re looking to design your dream home from scratch. Keep your eyes open for Blackman Plumbing Supplies as well.

GO HOUSE-HUNTING: If you’re looking to move from your current abode, home builders will be showcasing single-family residences and custom-build opportunities, Ratto says. If apartments and condominiums are more your speed, the Beechwood Organization, Engel Burman and AvalonBay communities will be promoting their services. If you want to pick a broker’s brain, visit Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s booth.

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GET RESCUED BY GEORGE: Home improvement guru George Oliphant, “Today” show contributor and star of the NBC series “George to the Rescue,” will be the expo’s special guest, Ratto says. Oliphant has traveled the country and commandeered timely home improvements for families facing challenges. Know of someone who deserves a hand? The new season of shows begins in mid-March.