The Parade of Homes has been a staple of the Minnesota home-buying experience since 1949. Presented by the BATC-Housing First Minnesota, the event’s seventy-year history speaks volumes to its value to homebuyers and architecture lovers in the Twin Cities. Whether you are in the market for a new home, looking to pick up some design inspo for your existing digs, or just want to spend a weekend or three looking at pretty houses; the Parade of Homes has something for everyone.
The BATC-Housing First Minnesota is “the leading voice of home builders and remodelers and all who are dedicated to building safe, durable homes at a price Minnesotans can afford. [The organization] represents more than 1,100 builders, remodelers, developers and industry suppliers throughout the state” according to Katie Elfrom, the Communications Manager for the Parade of Homes. With so many industry professionals represented in the event, the Parade of Homes is one of the best ways to see what is trending for Minnesota architecture and design.
And there is a lot to see! There are 385 homes total, which is more than enough homes to keep all of us busy looking for the entire three-week run of the Parade of Homes. The featured homes are mostly located in and near the Twin Cities, but if you are feeling that late-summer/early fall itch for a road trip, there are options located as far south as Dundas and as far north as Cambridge.
There are free guidebooks available at Holiday Stationstores two weeks before the Parade of Home begins, but the website is a great resource as well. Easily find the kinds of houses that appeal to you by specifying the categories that are important to you. Search by city, price, size, and whether the home falls into the “Green Path” or “Dream Home” categories.
Green Path homes, as the name suggests, are tested for their energy efficiency, and provide great inspiration on the most current trends in building and decorating an energy efficient home. “Minnesota’s Green Path is the leading energy efficiency and green building program for the residential construction industry in Minnesota,” Katie explains.
In fact, she continues, “[m]ore than 250 homes on this fall’s tour were tested by an independent energy rater and have been assigned a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating. These homes can show visitors a Green Path Home Performance Report (HPR) that graphically explains the home’s energy test results and allow homebuyers to compare expected energy use between homes.”
In addition to Green Path homes, there are Dream Homes, which Katie describes as “five high-end homes [that] have been selected by the BATC-Housing First Minnesota Foundation as Dream Homes.” These are the only locations that require an admission, but at $5 the cost is minimal and is used by the BATC-Housing First Minnesota foundation to “build and remodel homes for area families in need.”
The Dream Homes, which range in price from $1.9–2.9 million, include interesting, fun features like a custom staircase, a pickleball court, a boathouse, a regulation-sized half-court basketball court. Check these out on the website and in person! It is well worth the admission to see these unique homes!
I cannot encourage you any better than Katie does herself: “The Parade of Homes is the best place to see the latest home décor styles and trends. The tour showcases the incredible work of many great Twin Cities builders, remodelers and designers.”
This year, the Parade of Homes will be running Sept. 7-29 every Thursday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. This gives all of us plenty of time to hop on their website, mark down our favorites, and plan out our excursions to the crème de la crème of Minnesotan home design. Check out their website (paradeofhomes.org) and start hearting everything you want to check out!