The 2020 Parade of Homes will be smaller and partly virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the excitement from organizers and builders hasn’t changed.

The 39th annual Parade of Homes will run for two consecutive weekends, Oct. 2-4 and Oct. 9-11. Eight locally built homes will be featured, seven of which can be toured in-person as well as online. A few of the homes are for sale with prices ranging from $315,000 and up. The event is an opportunity to showcase local talent and for people to feed their curiosity about home building.

“It’s really an opportunity for local builders to showcase their creativity and passion. In the past, we’ve had zip lines and indoor slides,” said Traci Weinbrecht, executive officer of Housing and Building Association of Western Colorado, which organizes the event. “It also gives people a chance to see trends, and ask builders about their process and for tips.”

The event is like an art gallery. But instead of the works of Banksy and Basquiat, there’s a 750-square-foot home that mixes rusted metal with a modern design, and a house with an outdoor kitchen with a view of Colorado National Monument.

This year, Parade of Homes had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event isn’t just a community staple but has also attracted tourists from out of state, Weinbrecht said, so the addition of a virtual tour allows those who live out of town and for the immune-compromised to attend. The virtual aspect, which will be a permanent addition, also gives Parade of Homes a safety net in case in-person tours can’t take place.

“We started planning this back in March and didn’t know what the situation would look like,” Weinbrecht said. “We had a lot of help from Mesa County Public Health for taking necessary precautions. We feel blessed to be able to have it this year.”

Most of the guidelines were easy to implement, she said. A limited number of guests will be allowed in at once, depending on the house. Guests are expected to bring their own masks and not touch any surfaces. There will also be hand sanitizer stations in each house. Surgical booties will be required for feet (or stocking feet), so that floors aren’t dirtied or scuffed. Attendees will not be allowed to share the surgical booties as in past years, but they can take them to the next home they tour.

All of this is to ensure that the builders have the chance to show their stuff.

Les Gross, owner of Gross Construction, Inc., is showcasing his work in the Parade of Homes for the first time.

“I’ve been in the business basically my entire life, since about 1989,” Gross said. “My father was in the field, so I followed his path.”

Gross Construction and four subcontractors built “The Grand,” a 750-square-foot house in Clifton. One of Gross’ favorite aspects of the house is how it uses a modern design to contrast exterior materials such as rusted metal. “The Grand” is one of the four homes available for sale and is listed on the Parade of Homes website at $323,000.

“I would definitely live here,” Gross said.

Tickets will be available for purchase starting today at $15 per person. Tickets allow one entry into each of the seven in-person homes and re-entry into one, Weinbrecht said. Tickets are also required for virtual tours and an access code will be provided.

Weinbrecht recommends downloading the Parade of Homes app to map out the day since some of the houses are in new developments and could confuse Google Maps or Apple Maps.

It might seem like a niche interest, but Weinbrecht said that it’s a chance to see unique homes and have a great weekend.

“I always learn or see something new, whether it be an energy saving feature, tiling or a color scheme,” she said. “If you’re a curious person or want to see people show off their passion, then this is for you.”

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