Tiny House Fest Vermont connect the dots on housing, community

Tiny House
The Tiny House Festival Vermont has moved to Sugarbush Resort this year. Photo provided

WARREN, Vt. – In experience-based educational programs around the state, Vermont youth are discovering that there’s more to a tiny house than the build. At Tiny House Fest Vermont Oct. 27, 2019, three groups will report on their investigations into housing policy and people’s housing needs in Vermont and beyond.

Festival co-founder and producer Erin Maile O’Keefe is excited that presenters will include middle school, high school, and college age youth groups. “When it comes to human habitation, we’ve focused on narrow subject silos, and we are far from having what we need. We are also so far from having something viable to leave for future generations. Their activism is vital.”

This is the fourth year of Tiny House Fest Vermont, founded in 2016 to explore creativity in housing and shared community spaces. After three years in Brattleboro, the festival is bringing its brand of celebration and inquiry to the Mad River Valley, home of co-presenter Yestermorrow Design and Build School.

They will be among 60 presenters presenting on three stages at the festival Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 at Sugarbush Resort. Presentation topics range from the keynote, “Sustaining Sustainability: Regenerating the Practice of Life,” by Bill Reed of Regenesis Inc. to “Designing the Next Generation of Tiny House Trailers: A Live Design Jam” with Steven Wright of Wright Trailers.

“When we talk about people, houses, and the commons, we hope to encourage a sense of thoughtful re-inhabition, or a way of relating differently to our interactions and the environments we inhabit,” says festival co-founder Lisa Kuneman. “This year, we get to listen to and meaningfully interact with young people as they explore their world and their views. Learning on this level is an incredible opportunity.”

Tiny House Fest Vermont is entry-level fun and learning for the public, as well as a resource for DIY makers, builders, designers, community builders, and policy makers. To date, the festival has drawn up to 8,000 people to downtown Brattleboro to view houses onsite, see presentations and exhibitions, have a speed review of their own designs, create in a kids’ maker space, and attend a tour of small and tiny houses in Windham County.

The move to Warren is motivated by a presenting partnership with Yestermorrow Design and Build School in Waitsfield, Vt. Yestermorrow director Charlotte Potter describes the Mad River Valley area as home to an eclectic community of architects, makers, and adventurers. “For almost 40 years, Yestermorrow has helped empower individuals to build objects, homes, and habitats that reflect their ideas and values. The festival is a fabulous tool to help the school expand this conversation to the greater region with an invitation to tour the area and experience its creative history.”

Tickets are available online. For more information, go to www.tinyhousefestvermont.com.

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