Parade of Homes Turns 70, Gets Better with Age

Filed in Awards, Business Management by on July 18, 2016 6 Comments

Pictures might be worth a thousand words, and videos could be worth a million words. But an up-close and in-person look… that’s priceless.

Despite the significant advancements in technology, marketing strategies and information sharing that have developed in recent decades, most builders will agree there’s a huge advantage to giving consumers an old-school, first-hand look at their product.

The evidence of that dates back all the way to 1946, when the Salt Lake HBA created the first-of-its-kind, coordinated exhibition for the public of newly built homes.

And thus, the “Parade of Homes” was born.

Seven decades later, the parade of homes concept not only remains, but it’s more popular than ever. Every year, more and more parade-like home showcases are created across the country. Some might be considered typical; others, not so much. But they all have a similar objective – to spark the interest of prospective clients.

Young couple walking in the suburbs towards a house

When the annual Salt Lake Parade of Homes kicks off yet again later this month, it will be for the 70th consecutive year. Being the longest-running parade doesn’t automatically mean it’s the best, but it does suggest its organizers have consistently cooked up new recipes that keep it fresh and keep consumers coming back.

Among the numerous crowd-pleasing tactics employed by the SLHBA, it developed a mobile app that made the ever-growing parade easier to navigate; it enabled online applications that made it easier for builders to submit their information; and it hosted a variety of special events like playhouse auctions which raised thousands of dollars for charity.

This year, they’ve upped the ante yet again. Shortly after the Parade of Homes begins, the SLHBA will debut the first in a series of 30-minute TV shows chronicling the long history and evolution of the SLHBA’s Parade of Homes. One new episode (from among the 24 total in the series) will air each Sunday throughout the Salt Lake region on the local ABC station (times and dates TBD).

In the years to come, the SLHBA wants to create more of these shows to highlight the newest parade homes and the process underwent by the builders who built them.

“Success is a little hard to measure for something like this,” said EO Jaren Davis of the SLHBA. “But we’re already anticipating one of our strongest years for parade attendance, and our hope is that creating this TV series will help continue to strengthen the Parade of Homes brand and increase the recognized value of the home building industry.”

Salt Lake City’s parade is just one of many across the country. Several others have even been awarded by NAHB in recognition for their unique qualities and successful results. Some of those that received awards in recent years include:

  • HBA of Colorado Springs – The 2013 Parade of Homes featured six homes that were rebuilt in a community that suffered through wildfires that destroyed 346 homes just one year prior.
  • HBA of Metropolitan Portland – After struggling with poor attendance for several years after the recession, Street of Dreams regained its momentum in 2013. Organizers more than doubled the previous year’s net income thanks to a more robust marketing strategy and the addition of several notable developers on the planning committee who were key to identifying the sites and projects that would attract the most consumers.
  • HBA of Richmond – The annual Homearama had yet to achieve its goal of reaching the 10,000-attendance mark until 2014. That’s when the event partnered with the national best-selling authors and prominent bloggers of “Young House Love” who gave the event the boost it needed to surpass the attendance goals.
  • HBA of Greater Cincinnati – Despite its modest budget and the initial reluctance from sponsors, the inaugural Parade Craze Tour of New Homes in 2015 reeled in more than 5,000 attendees. The event featured 53 homes, offered several prize packages to attendees, and proved to some of the once-skeptical builders that a home show in the fall could still produce valuable leads.
  • Flagler County Palm Coast HBA – The Parade of Homes made even more headlines after it recently added the Brick Builders Club, a Lego competition among local schools’ STEM programs. The club consists of more than 120 students who meet for an hour each day before school begins to learn design, engineering, math and technology through the use of the recreational building blocks.

More information about other HBAs recognized for outstanding programs, visit the Association Excellence Awards page on nahb.org.

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Comments (6)

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  1. And, do not forget the HBA of Metro Denver that is about to host its 31st consecutive Parade of Homes with 64 home entries.
    Many of the home builders are featuring energy and water conservation construction advantages, universal design architecture and fantastic new products and services worthy of attendees’ interests.
    The Parade usually attracts approximately 100,000 to 150,000 annually.
    Member participation is extraordinary whether as a builder, manufacturer, vendor, supplier, lender, real estate broker and contractor alike.
    The magazine has become a year long resource guide for members and consumers too.
    The event has proven to be a financial success for the HBA of Metro Denver!

  2. Cindy Powers says:

    That is amazing. I am glad that there are several parade of homes in Utah especially the SLC Parade of Homes. Thanks to all involved in the Parade of Homes. You are the greatest in putting on a great show.

  3. Mike Newman says:

    Getting to go to the Parade is a yearly dream – just to see the new ideas and uses the designers and builders come up with is a lot of fun. I Don’t drive any more so having a free ticket for someone to use and take me with them is always a good incentive.

  4. Emi Sorensen says:

    I’m more excited than ever to attend the Salt Lake Parade of Homes! Looking for great ideas to put toward a custom home someday. Love seeing the ingenuity of different builders in creating special places that are one-of-a-kind and appeal to all sorts of people.

  5. Sorry to correct everyone, but the first Parade of Homes was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We are celebrating 76 consecutive years this August. We are the original that started it all and we are very proud of this fact.

    • NAHB Now says:

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Kristine. This topic had not been particularly well documented up to this point, so we appreciate the clarification and apologize for the oversight. Seventy-six consecutive years is a significant achievement, indeed. We would welcome the opportunity to share highlights in NAHBNow about Milwaukee’s parade as well.

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