This year marks the 50th time the annual Parade of Homes in Fort Wayne has showcased the latest in new homes constructed by area homebuilders.
Even though the Parade has returned to its traditional fall time slot, don’t expect parades of the past, organizers say.
The Sept. 6 to 14 event in the Forest of Foxwood and adjacent Harbour Villas additions in northeast Fort Wayne has been renamed the Parade of Homes & Lifestyle Showcase to reflect organizers’ desire to become a large, family-friendly venue attendees can return to time and again, says Ric Zehr, vice president of North Eastern Group.
North Eastern is developer of Foxwood and one of the event’s sponsors, along with Fort Wayne Newspapers and the Fort Wayne Home Builders Association, which has formed a partnership to manage the larger event, Zehr said.
“We wanted to broaden the scope of the show and give exposure to more people. Obviously, we wanted to showcase our new homes and our amazing builders, but we also wanted to show ... all the things that go into a home and just living and lifestyle in general,” he says.
So, this year, organizers are bringing back a large tent – 25,000 square feet or about the size of a football field – where 100 vendors and institutions, from hospitals and banks to restaurants and supermarkets, will showcase products and services along with traditional home-building and home-furnishing and décor companies.
Visitors can expect food concessions and a stage for demonstrations, and the venue has a liquor license, Zehr says.
Several days have a special focus. Cooking in the Home Day with area restaurant and personal chefs will take place 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 9; Interior Inspirations will be 1 to 7 p.m. Sept. 9; Healthy Living is 1 to 7 p.m. Sept. 10; and Outdoor Living 1 to 7 p.m. Sept. 11. Family Fun Day with inflatables, mascots and other attractions for children will be Sept. 13.
Windows, Doors and More in Fort Wayne, the title sponsor, has constructed a model “home” under the tent to showcase its products. All homes have a vendor, media or nonprofit co-sponsor that will set up shop in the homes’ garages.
Nine homes will be on display, including two villas by Granite Ridge Builders if Fort Wayne. And the style bywords this year include “Craftsman” and “rustic.”
Open-concept interiors still predominate, says Jenny Nelson, interior designer with Kayla Hoffman for Granite Ridge’s bedroom European Transitional home.
Floor plans tend to be “all open, with the separation made with the placement of furniture.”
The Granite Ridge home includes metal roofing and a brick exterior and a new first-floor feature the company calls a tri-suite. It has a fold-down bed, full bath and closet that can be used as an office, exercise room, or teen, guest or mother-in-law suite.
Natural materials such as stacked travertine marble for a fireplace surround, glass kitchen back-splash tiles, wooden horizontal blinds and car siding in a sunroom provide texture and bring the outdoors indoors. A large pond is visible from an expanse of windows in the back of the house.
“We’re maintaining a customized, classic traditional feel with an updated twist. We’re trying to bring a new look together,” Nelson says. “We feel this home has longevity – we feel it’s not too trendy. You can raise kids and be here for a long time.”
Other builders have taken the rustic idea further, with stamped concrete and farmhouse-style cabinets in Quality Crafted Homes’ Rustic Craftsman home or sliding doors and other accents made from reclaimed barn wood in Timberlin Homes’ Modern Rustic offering. It also features lighting fixtures from repurposed materials, including an old trough made into a dining room chandelier.
The Timberlin home carries the rustic aesthetic outdoors with shake-style vinyl siding and an elevated back porch with an eye-level fireplace. The home also has a ground-level patio and a long front porch that can easily accommodate a porch swing and more than one patio set.
“It’s a new home, but we want it to feel like it’s been here,” says Barclay Allen, Timberlin’s president.
Hickory Creek Homes’ French Country-style home has a veranda that has a grill, television and fireplace where homeowners and their families and guests can mingle.
Other builders include Bob Buescher Homes of Fort Wayne and Angola, Star Homes by Delagrange and Richhart, Slattery Builders and Lancia Homes, all of Fort Wayne.
Kim Ward, a Realtor with North Eastern Group in Fort Wayne, says organizers hope to attract upwards of 10,000 attendees with the expanded format.
“Builders make huge investments for this event, and we really want to drive traffic and make it a memorable experience for attendees,” she said.