After 24 years of showing off just how good Outer Banks builders and craftsmen are, here at the Outer Banks Home Builders Association we’ve managed to amass a number Outer Banks Parade of Homes fun facts to share.
The first Parade of Homes was in April of 1992, scheduled to take advantage of Easter Week. Scheduling around Easter seemed like a great idea, but Easter is a floating holiday, making it really tough for builders to make sure their homes were finished. Early spring weather on the Outer Banks can also be a little bit iffy, so…
In 1997 the Outer Banks Parade of Homes was moved to Columbus Day Weekend, and we’ve never looked back.
Here are some numbers:
There have been 526 new or remodeled homes featured in our 24 years of Parade of Homes. The highest number of homes was 34 in 2003 and 2005. The fewest was 16 in 2009—yes, we were affected by the economic downturn. Interestingly though, our tourist economy remained very strong throughout the downturn and continues to grow even today.
There have been 121 builders who have participated with us. Sandy and Mark Martin with Sandmark Construction get the blue ribbon for most consistent participant showing 22 homes in 18 years. They have only missed a total of three years that were used on family commitments. Sandmark Construction has two homes in the Parade this year.
SAGA Construction & Development is the only high-volume builder on the Outer Banks and they have made a point of showing multiple homes every year since they first participated in the Parade of Homes in 2007. To date, 32 of their homes have been featured. They have four homes in the Parade this year.
And of particular note, there is one builder participating in this year’s event who was part of the very first Parade in 1992. That is Jimbo Ward of Beach Realty & Construction, also the first president of the OBHBA in 1979. Those are two big “firsts.”
From 2003 to 2007 some of our Parade homes had as many as 2500 prospective clients passing through their doors. Attendance slipped during the recession, but numbers are climbing again. We were back to almost 2100 in 2015; the early signs point to even better attendance this year. And yes, our builders are exhausted and hoarse but still excited by the time 3 p.m. Sunday rolls around.