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Tiny House Fest Vermont is entering its third year, with the annual one-day festival transforming downtown Brattleboro on June 23, 2018. This year, the regional event exploring visions of future housing and public space is supported by ​a new partnership between the original founders of the fest and Vermont’s Yestermorrow Design/Build School.

Co-founders Erin Maile O’Keefe and Lisa Kuneman have formed the Brattleboro Office of Cultural Affairs (BOCA) to produce the event. They say that teaming up with Yestermorrow Design/Build School this year  will extend the Fest’s reach and increase its capacity to meet overwhelming interest in the event. “As a designer, Yestermorrow has offered me an incredible lab to innovate for my own changing housing needs. Their partnership in the Fest offers capacity to meet growing interest in tiny houses and, even more, the growing need to re-examine housing and community development for the 21st Century.”  (Fest co-founder Erin Maile O’Keefe.)

Yestermorrow is a natural partner for BOCA. Likening its values to those of tiny house enthusiasts, founder John Connell says, “We must all take on the trans-generational challenges of climate change, social equity and environmental preservation, Yestermorrow is concerned with housing solutions that promote equitable community and minimize environmental impact.” The school has pioneered coursework for the layperson since 1980 at its campus facility in Waitsfield, VT, and more recently throughout New England. In 2013 Yestermorrow presented the nation’s first Tiny House Fair in 2013. This year they will launch a Tiny House Design/ Build Certificate Program.

In its third year, Tiny House Fest Vermont will shift from early September to late June, while maintaining its signature location in downtown Brattleboro. With a track record of bringing thousands of people to downtown businesses, organizers will  maintain their focus on igniting the experience of community in an underused area of the downtown center. “By creative design, the organizers have established an event that invites attendees to enjoy our vibrant downtown and support all those working hard to keep our community center alive and well.” (Alex Beck, Downtown Brattleboro Alliance Board Member and Brattleboro Resident.)

Tiny House Fest Vermont is a platform for a regionally-focused, public conversation about the way we live, involving an expansive audience of community members, professionals, educators, businesses, nonprofits and policy makers from Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and beyond. In 2017, the pop-up Tiny House Village on Flat Street featured 24 tiny houses (up from 7 in the Fest’s inaugural year), and doubled the number of presentations. Despite rain delivered by Hurricane Harvey, tickets sales grew from the year before, and exhibitors expressed satisfaction with the surprisingly strong flow of attendees.

While the tiny living movement and a housing crisis are nationwide phenomena, Vermont State Senator Becca Balint (Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs) points out that “Vermont’s housing crisis touches all communities across the state and impacts all aspects of our economy. For a healthy, sustainable Vermont, we must explore all available avenues for building homes—and communities—that work for Vermonters and allow us to truly live our values.” This year’s programming line-up continues to put tiny housing options and their attainability at the center- making them a starting point for a larger conversation.

Also this year, students of Yestermorrow’s newly established Tiny House Design/ Build Certificate Program will built a tiny house on wheels. The four-week intensive brings expert architects, designers and builders from around the nation to its campus to participate in a comprehensive Tiny House course. Throughout the course, students may attend optional weekend sessions on simplifying and exploring a variety of space-efficient housing options, composting toilets and modern vargo or wagon design.

“Our working relationship with Yestermorrow cements our commitment to our mission and to our audience. We are very optimistic about the growing capacity of the fest to strengthen the region through bringing people together to focus on housing and shared spaces as an essential element of community resiliency.” says Fest co-founder Lisa Kuneman. Potential attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors for the Fest can visit the Tiny House Fest Vermont website for an overview of what to expect: www.tinyhousefestvermont.com.

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