When the “tiny house” festival arrives in December, locals will get the chance to draw on some giant ideas in home design. Slated for Friday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 9 at Heritage Park in Slidell, the event is preceded by a film festival celebrating tiny houses and minimalist lifestyles on Dec. 1 at the House of Blues in New Orleans.
The festival in Slidell’s Olde Towne will present a wealth of tiny houses, “teardrop” camper-trailers, school bus conversions, gypsy wagons, vintage campers and other styles of diminutive structures.
According to Aimee Smallwood of the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, co-presenters of the event, the tiny house movement is here to stay.
“Most of the tiny houses we see espouse other elements of minimalist living, including having smaller footprints and embodying ‘green’ principles. Some are ‘off the grid’ and generate their own power, so they are sustainable structures,” she said. “I think it is interesting that the highest demographic buying and living in tiny houses are women who are 50 and older. It presents an opportunity to live mortgage-free.”
The festival, including dozens of workshops on the topic, is co-presented with the United Tiny House Association, a national group that stages festivals across the country. The group has confirmed that some “celebrity” tiny houses will be on hand at Heritage Park, including the Tiny Traveling Theatre, the Gypsy Wagon, the Re-Use Box Truck and the Tiny Firehouse.
“For those who are not yet steeped in the tiny house culture, there will be workshops that explain it all and offer practical advice to anyone considering the switch,” said Smallwood. “There are legal considerations about where one can put a tiny house, and those will be covered, as well as how to minimize the cost to build a tiny home.”
A special guest that HGTV fans will recognize is Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, host of the channel’s “Tiny House Builders.” Diedricksen is also best-selling author of a new book, "Microdwellings."
No Louisiana festival would be complete without music and the Bucktown All-Stars headline this one. In addition to a children’s village, Smallwood said to expect a holiday art market and additional Louisiana performers throughout the weekend.
John Kernohan, chairman and founder of Tiny House Festivals, said the organization has grown to 30,000 members in just three years. He and his wife have lived for six years in a 304-square foot, do-it-yourself, off-the-grid house, and they travel nationwide with a 148-square-foot tiny house, called the “Tiny Firehouse — Station No. 9,” in tow.
The three-day festival begins on Friday, Dec. 7 with free admission from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the festival is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and tickets are $15 in advance. Go to culturaleconomy.org for more information, or email Smallwood at email@example.com