Tiny House Fest hits Vermont this Labor Day Weekend

Community Resilience is theme for gathering of 7,500 tiny house enthusiasts

BRATTLEBORO — Tiny houses are here to stay. In fact, the tiny house movement is changing the way Americans think about housing and lifestyles. This Labor Day Weekend, thousands will visit Brattleboro to celebrate the DIY spirit of the tiny house movement and the art of placemaking at Tiny House Fest Vermont 2017.

THFV 2017 features the following events over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1 through 4:

On Friday, Gallery Walk Exhibitions, downtown Brattleboro, 5 to 8 p.m.

On Saturday, Workshop: Tiny Houses for Change. Explore how Tiny Houses and their occupants fit into the big picture of American housing and economics, then develop a plan for action — at the Brattleboro Retreat, 10 a.m.to 4 p.m.

On Sunday, The main event: The downtown street fest with a Pop-up Tiny House Village including 13-plus tiny houses, the Housing and Placemaking Academy on two stages, Building Arts Marketplace, Speed Design Reviews, a Building Demo, Parklets by youth, and the Kids' MakerSpace. Flat Street, Brattleboro, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Monday, The Local House Tour. With map in hand, tour a variety of tiny, small and efficient dwellings throughout Brattleboro and Guilford, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

THFV 2017 follows the debut of THFV in 2016, when 5,000 people came to downtown Brattleboro. Festival organizers project that 7,500 people will attend THFV 2017. Fest co-organizer, educator and facilitator Lisa Kuneman says of the event, "It's exciting to come together as a community and wonder collectively about what's on the horizon. Minimalist living is emerging as a new take on the American Dream, and people love tiny houses because they represent freedom. The Fest is a chance to talk about building and making, housing attainability, environmental impact and shared spaces."

"Tiny House Fest represents the best of Vermont innovation: Yankee ingenuity, sustainable practice, human scale, and common wisdom," said Michelle Simpson-Siegel, executive director at Oak Meadow, a distance learning school based in Brattleboro, and a community partner of THFV 2017.

This year's Housing and Placemaking Academy expands the number of stages for presentations from one to two. These will feature a range of inspiring speakers focused on all things related to tiny houses, housing regulation, waste management, the maker ethos, and community spaces. Fest presenters represent a great resource of regional and local talent, including:

Leonardo Vazquez, a national award-winning planner who is a leader in two emerging fields in urban planning: creative placemaking and cultural competency; Becca Balint, state Senator from Windham County, the Senate's Majority Leader, Balint sits on the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee and the Workforce Development Council; Alex Wilson, president of the Resilient Design Institute, founder of BuildingGreen, a leader in green building consulting and information delivery. Wilson is a widely published writer on resiliency in the face of climate change, green building, energy, and the environment.

"Well-insulated tiny houses are at the forefront of both sustainability and resilience," said Wilson. "Tiny homes are well adapted to natural disasters and a changing climate — they can easily be moved out of harm's way and they can keep occupants reasonably safe in the event of extended power outages by virtue of their tiny heating and cooling loads."

Wilson, who has been instrumental in the regional Ecovation Hub, spurring local businesses to respond to needs for sustainability in housing and construction, also noted, "Tiny houses are mushrooming in popularity and represent a niche product offering for forward-looking design and construction firms."

THFV 2017 passes purchased before Sept. 3 range from $10 to $50. Prices go up on Sept. 3, and availability of tickets that allow access to the two presentation stages is limited. Passes are available now at tinyhousefestvermont.com.


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