Hundreds of visitors flocked to the second annual St. George Island Tour of Homes Saturday.

This year’s tour was even more successful than last year’s debut. With 450 tickets sold, the event raised more than $6,500 for the lighthouse association, topping last year’s tally of 370 tickets sold.

Terry Kemp, secretary for the association, said the vast majority of tickets were purchased in advance.

Kemp said Monday morning, she had viewed 200 surveys filled out by ticket holders and that fewer than 20 of the participants lived in Franklin County. She said that among the visitors from 27 states, about 70 were “snowbirds.”

All but a handful said they would come back for future tours. One naysayer explained, “I am seven.”

As always, all of the homes and, indeed the entire island was at its best for the event. The weather was clear and fresh with a light breeze that made it a perfect day to cruise St. George Island with the top down.

While many owners displayed their homes with pride, extracted sand burrs from the carpets, shared construction war stories or took the chance to view their neighbors’ domains, John Hockman spent the day working on an impressive home improvement project.

Hockman is constructing a barbeque that puts most to shame. His seven-foot by four-foot wood-burning, flagstone edifice incorporates a grill and smoker. On Saturday, he was putting the finishing touches on a pizza oven.

The oven is built of fire bricks and wrapped in a fibrous ceramic blanket for insulation. The blanket will be covered by more flagstones.

Hockman said the floor of the oven will reach 600 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. ”It’s exactly like the one (at Jo Mama’s) in St. Joe, only smaller,” he said.

The grill, which has been completed, incorporates two jacks to raise and lower the cooking surface.

Hockman said he designed his masterpiece after viewing plans online.

The grill was not the Hockmans’ first do-it-yourself project. Wife Linda did all the interior painting and created the window treatments for their lovely island home and John built the kitchen cabinets.