When Chance Beasley was in junior high, he always loved the Parade of Homes™ in Amarillo. “My family looked forward to it every year,” he says. “I thought it was so much fun.”
Today, he’s the owner of Cornerstone Fine Homes and the president of the Board of Directors of the Texas Panhandle Builders Association (TPBA), the group that represents members of the building industry and organizes the annual Parade of Homes. This event showcases builders, new construction, and some of the newest neighborhoods being developed in and around the city.
According to J.T. Laramore, TPBA Executive Officer, this year’s Parade features 16 homes across a variety of price levels, from entry-level homes to million-dollar residences, from traditional construction to innovative barndominiums. Tickets for the two-weekend event—homes are available to tour May 12-15 and May 19-22—are $12 a person, and children younger than 12 are free. Tickets can be purchased at United Supermarkets and Pak-A-Sak locations, as well as online at amarilloparadeofhomes.com.
A Taste of What’s New
While the local real estate market has been booming in recent months, Laramore knows most Parade attendees won’t necessarily be in the market for a new home. They just want to get a taste of what’s new in home construction. “On the consumer side, most just want to see the modern trends, the new color schemes for the year, or what flooring options or roofing materials are out there,” he says. “It’s one thing to go to a trade show and see a sample board. To see it in a 3,000-square-foot home is something else entirely.”
Many of this year’s homes will be staged with artwork and other decór. A few others will just barely have been completed in time for the tour. The relatively low number of homes in this year’s Parade results from several factors, including supply-chain troubles that have plagued the construction industry. Delays in materials like windows and garage doors prevented some builders from participating in 2022.
But there’s a bright side for the thousands of ticket-holders who’ll attend: This year’s event is streamlined. “You’ll definitely be able to see all the participating homes,” says Laramore. “That’s a good thing. By visiting all of them you’ll be entered to win our Gold Prize.”
Attending all 16 homes qualifies ticket-holders for a chance to win the event’s Gold Prize, which includes a $3,000 shopping spree from Casey Carpet One and a $3,000 shopping spree from Marble Depot. “Each ticket will have a unique QR code. When you scan it at each house in the Parade, it allows us to see which homes you’ve visited,” Laramore says. “That’s how you’ll qualify for the prizes.”
Everyone who attends at least one home will be entered to win the Silver Prize: a $3,000 entertainment and security system from Sound by Design.
The Amarillo Parade of Homes app, available for iPhone and Android users, acts as a digital guide for the event, offering directions to each home—some streets are so new they don’t appear yet on Google Maps—and letting users even take notes about what they see. “If you see wood flooring you like in a certain house, you can make a note to remember it for when you go shopping,” Laramore says.
Homes in this year’s parade are clustered in Rockrose’s new Pinnacle neighborhood, as well as several more developments in and around Amarillo. “Our developers definitely like this event,” says Whitni Bonner, TPBA Executive Assistant. “It gets people out to see the new neighborhoods.”
In the earliest days of Amarillo’s Parade of Homes, all participating homes would be on a single, walkable block in a new neighborhood (see below). Geography soon took over, with Parade homes popping up in every quadrant of Amarillo, and even toward Canyon and Bushland.
The 2022 Parade offers the best of both worlds. Several of this year’s homes are located on Hollow Landing in the brand-new Pinnacle neighborhood, near Hollywood and Bell behind Randall High School. Attendees can easily tour that cluster of homes, before driving to see the rest.
One of those Pinnacle houses was built by Cornerstone Fine Homes. “For builders, this event is huge,” says Chance Beasley of Cornerstone. “It’s my No. 1 marketing tool, apart from word of mouth. It gives people the opportunity to see your work up close. Getting a few thousand people inside your doors is a pretty powerful
After the 2020 Parade was forced to go virtual and the 2021 Parade dealt with COVID-safe capacity restrictions, all of this year’s planners and builders are excited for a return to normal. “Last year we had to be very cautious with any public events, but this year those protocols have been lifted. The city has been very supportive and excited to help us,” Laramore says.
Beasley and the TPBA team expect to see upwards of 2,000 people attending this year. “It’s just something that’s a lot of fun for families,” he says. “We’ll have such a wide variety of styles. Not every builder has the same design taste, so it’s fun to go from house to house to get different ideas.”
He hopes this year’s attendees have as much fun touring the homes as he did when he was young. “It’s fun to see it come full circle, from going as a kid to actually building in the Parade today.”
By clustering four homes on a block of Hollow Landing in the Pinnacle neighborhood, this year’s Parade of Homes echoes some of the first such events in Amarillo. Past TPBA President Bob Fenley began building houses in the area in 1972. He’s now 85 years old, and after 50 years of building houses, still remembers the first Parades in the city.
Featured Parade homes would all be located on a single city block—like Pinehurst Drive in Puckett Place or Gainsborough in the Belmar neighborhood. The street would be closed to traffic and families would literally parade, on foot, from one home to the next.
“The developer would offer a discount on the lots for everyone who built in the parade,” Fenley says. A developer might also offer to lay sod or install the fencing in order to attract participating builders. “The homes were all in one location and all within a comparable price range. You parked your car and walked down the street to look at them.”
Confined to a single street, the free event was designed to be an afternoon family outing, including activities for children.
Fenley specialized in moderate-income housing for first-time homebuyers, focusing on neighborhoods like Eastridge and Sunrise. Back then, builders like him depended on the Parade for the same reasons they do today. “It would give us an opportunity to show our wares to more people. We wanted to sell our Parade houses, of course, but you’re also looking for prospects,” he says.
Beyond the sales element, innovative builders offered a service to the public. “We used a lot of new things people hadn’t seen. People could come through and see a brick fireplace or an air-conditioning system that had just come out,” he remembers. “They wouldn’t see those things otherwise.”
That purpose hasn’t changed, but the home construction world has—and not just because today’s Parades feature homes of every size and price range, spread throughout the community. “All the home builders back then were individual guys like me,” says Fenley, who is still a TPBA member. “They were former truck drivers or ex-framers. I’d come from the banking business. We weren’t college-educated. Nowadays it’s a completely different ball game.”