Parade of Homes: Showcasing Summit County’s style
Special to the Daily
Entering its 19th year, Summit County’s Parade of Homes has become one of the premiere home-related events in the region, featuring the latest trends and cutting-edge technology in construction and design.
Once a year, builders from around Summit County submit houses to be shown for the Parade of Homes. It’s not a real estate selling event, but rather a showcase of the builders’ and designers’ abilities. It’s a chance for homeowners and art enthusiasts, as well as potential buyers to walk inside a number of new and remodeled homes and gather ideas and information.
Those who attend Parade of Homes are “people that are interested in buying, people that are interested in remodels, people who are just interested in seeing trends,” said Lynn Myers, chairperson of the Parade of Homes and interior designer of Harmony Interiors in Frisco. “The builders will find something unique that they can put in (their) house. It’s a showcase of homes, so you’re going to see the new and upcoming things.”
The buzz builds before each Parade of Homes as the builders and designers complete their work. Unique elements of the latest trends and designs are likely to make an appearance for the showcase, and those working on them do their best to save their reveals for the last moment.
“It’s kind of a secret,” Myers said, of the various projects. Attending the showcase to see the final product “is almost like opening up a gift — I can’t wait to see what’s inside. … People are excited when they walk in the door because ethey don’t’ know what they’re going to see.”
This year, Myers hinted that Parade of Home attendees can look forward to elements like cable staircases, a wrapped granite kitchen island and various new floorings and appliances.
Michael Rath, president of the Summit County Builders Association and managing partner at Trilogy Builds in Breckenridge, agrees that the showcase aspect is both exciting and rewarding.
“The reason I love (Parade of Homes), is I feel like I work in obscurity all year and these are the four days where people actually get to see what I do and what all of the people who work with me do, and that’s wonderful,” he said. “My guys feel so great when they hear a compliment from somebody walking through a house because they worked really really hard and this is the only reward they’re really going to get.”
Awards are handed out after each Parade of Homes event, highlighting the best builder, best remodel and best design, among others.
There are 11 homes to be showcased this year, spread out through Summit County in Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne and Keystone, some new and some remodeled. This is only half of the usual amount for the event, a sign of recent economic difficulties.
“The homes are of tremendous high quality but the reason we don’t have more is a sign of the economic times we’ve gone through in the last few years,” Rath said. However, “we are recovering.”
What’s more, Rath added that Parade of Homes plays a very important role in the economics of the area.
“Those two weekends are two of the most economically important weekends of the year in Summit County,” he said. “Construction is the second-largest industry in the county. It employs a lot of people. … It’s of vital interest.”
In 2004, the Summit County Builders Association decided to add a charitable aspect to the event. Proceeds from the ticket sales are donated to The Summit Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that funds projects and organizations around the county under six categories — arts and culture, education, environment, health and human services, sports and recreation, and neighboring communities.
“I’m absolutely committed to this as a charitable event,” Rath said. “It’s really wonderful to be able to give them a check every year.”
Rath also likes to point out the cultural aspects of the event, which gathers people to view and discuss design and architecture.
“We’re talking about design, we’re talking about architecture, we’re talking about all of those great things,” he said. “Architecture is still art, it’s recognized as one of the great art forms, as is great design, and what some of my craftsmen are able to do with wood and how they make the furniture — that’s art.”
Builders and designers are available at each home to answer questions and speak with attendees about their ideas, inspirations, techniques and materials. The aspect of sharing and collaborating is an exciting one for Rath and his colleagues.
“I would say that 99 percent of the people I meet and greet I will never build a house for, but a lot of them are going to take the ideas they see in our homes and use them in their own homes and that’s going to bring them enjoyment and that’s great,” he explained. He’s also happy to let people take photos to refer to later. “Not sharing art, to me, is kind of a tragedy, so I just hope that people enjoy the homes, I hope they enjoy what they see.”
Each year, the Parade of Homes draws thousands of people, both within the county and visitors from around Colorado, America and the world.
“We’re a world class destination and those are the kinds of people that are attracted to the Parade of Homes,” Rath said. He refers not only to the attendees, but to the participants as well. “A lot of people with talent want to live in Summit County, so we attract some people who could be working in New York and making five times more money but they want to live here, and that’s the kind of people who are building and designing these homes.”
Upon purchasing tickets, attendees can find maps and directions to all 11 homes in the event. They can then explore each home and setting at their leisure.
“It’s a beautiful time of year to be here. The leaves are turning,” Myers said. “Driving around the county is just a really nice way to spend your weekends.”
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