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Tiny House Convention

By Laura LaVoie

I just got back from Dragon*Con, the largest fan-run Scifi/Fantasy convention in the US, which is held in Atlanta every Labor Day Weekend. The convention is split between five hotels in downtown and there is always something interesting going on while you’re there. I’ve been attending for the last 6 years and even though I’m not a fan of large crowds most of the time, Dragon*Con is the one event I find myself breaking out of my shell and getting into it.

I’m sure by this point of the post you’re wondering why I am writing about this on Tiny House Talk. What does Dragon*Con have to do with anything? I got to thinking about it while I was there and realized that the tiny house community could use a large scale event – or two – to celebrate our culture and accomplishments.

Now, I don’t imagine there would ever be 55,000 people descending on Atlanta to discuss all aspects of tiny living. There won’t be tiny house costumes (I plan to dress as Laura Ingalls Wilder if that is the case – someone else should really do Thoreau!). But what there can be is a place for tiny house builders to meet and to share with the interested public about the tiny house movement and what we’ve done with tiny houses in our lives.

Tiny House Convention

The tiny house community is pretty scattered. Some tiny houses are mobile and some are not. Every time I talk to non-tiny house people they are very curious about our lives and homes and I think there is a market for a much smaller scale Tiny House Convention. 

Dragon*Con didn’t start out at 55,000 people. When it was a tiny convention in Atlanta 26 years ago it was held in one small spot and was primarily geared toward table top gaming. It has since grown to encompass anything you can imagine. Celebrities come to discuss their contributions to science fiction and fantasy whether it is television or movies or books. The tiny house movement is, well, tiny for now but as more and more people become involved in it even those who don’t want to live in tiny spaces will be interested in programming that can range from floor plans to solar power systems.

Maybe it is time to start thinking about small scale, regional meet ups for tiny house folks. It is great that we have built communities on line, but taking the relationships and our experience into the real world is another way to share all the reasons we love tiny spaces. What is your vision for a Tiny House Convention? Where would you want it to be held? What kind of programming would you want to see? The possibilities are endless.

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Liz September 8, 2012, 10:50 am

    You are right that starting small is a great idea. I went to a Google Apps for Education conference this summer, and even this huge company knows that a small conference is a great way to get together and learn. They, too, had regional conferences. But I would start out even smaller, with one conference of no more than a few hundred people, in an inexpensive location, but easy to get to, with a major airport hub nearby.

    You won’t get to serve everyone the first year, but the location can rotate. Many small organizations switch coasts every year—think San Jose and not San Francisco, or New Jersey instead of New York City—adding an event in the west/midwest when they grow big enough. (Denver is a good place for a summer event.)

    I would want to see workshops on the permitting process (or avoidance thereof), where to find used building materials, perhaps some networking incubation (so many of us are loners!) perhaps even a tiny build done in a few days!

    But the biggest worry is where to put a house, and people could share how they’ve done that.

    The most important thing, as you already know, is that when you go to a conference, you get inspired, and you meet real people, and you really know you’re not alone, but a part of something, er, “bigger.”

    This is an idea whose time has come. I would help, but I’m spending the next year finishing my masters. But I have helped organize small conferences before—and gone to tons of them—and I’d be willing to talk to you about what I know, limited as it may be.

  • Jennifer Golden September 8, 2012, 11:25 am

    LOVE IT! I think it would be a great idea and I would go- I offer that it be in California and my husband and I would love facilitate in any way you might need. We currently are living in San Luis Obispo in our rennovatred vintage Airstream on 2.5 acres. We love it! We have a second vintage Airstream which we use for storage and a studio (for music and office.

    We first learned about the Tiny House Movement several years ago when we saw an article on Yahoo about Jay Schaffer and Tumbleweed Homes.

    • Laura M. LaVoie September 14, 2012, 4:49 pm

      California is a reasonable location considering how so many tiny house companies and people are on the west coast. Less convenient for me here in the South East, but we have to start somewhere, right?

      • J.M. Daum September 4, 2014, 6:23 pm

        I’m in NC, and I’m online tonight to find events in the southeast. I can’t make the Raleigh home show, but I’ll be at the meetup. I wish I’d known about my father’s building project, with which I’m helping, before the Charlotte conference. That would have been perfect. I look forward to seeing what develops here.

  • sgandmg September 8, 2012, 12:02 pm

    I think that is a great idea and would love to attend. I agree with Liz on being near a large airport for easy access. I have never setup a conference but I know my husband and I would love to go!

  • Tiana September 10, 2012, 6:26 pm

    Corvallis!

  • Deek September 11, 2012, 11:34 am

    Locale? Pino’s living room! We’ll keep it small for year No. 1! No, it’d be GREAT to have one, but organizationally, it would be tough, and expensive- HUGELY time consuming too- but it is possible. Yes, at some major flight hub area too, where tickets/airline rates would tend to be cheaper….

    • Laura M. LaVoie September 14, 2012, 4:51 pm

      I have definitely learned that planning even small events can be crazy. I can’t even imagine what it takes to plan something as huge as Dragon*Con – and that is almost all volunteer run! Small is always good to start.

      We would really need to figure out a way to get all the tiny house folks in one place and then figure out how to encourage people to come listen to us ramble on!

      I second Alex’s living room…pass the popcorn…

  • sunshineandrain January 8, 2013, 3:44 am

    I like the idea. I always went to the fan-run sci-fi & fantasy etc. convention nearby until its demise.

    I certainly would attend. I am not at a point in my life to do more volunteering than perhaps a door monitor, though.

  • Kate Stephenson January 23, 2013, 2:58 pm

    Hi there,
    This is a great idea! And actually we’ve been planning one for the last 18 months! The first ever Tiny House Fair is scheduled for June 14-16, 2013 at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, VT.

    While not exactly convention scale we are expecting 100 tiny house enthusiasts to join us for a weekend of workshops, presentations, tiny house tours, and discussion.

    Learn more and register at http://www.yestermorrow.org/about-us/stay-connected/events/june-14-16-tiny-house-fair-waitsfield-vt/

  • Donna Kissell February 9, 2013, 10:21 am

    I would love to attend one of these. It would be great if there were vendors to highlight appliances and other items that would be useful in a tiny house

  • chphotovideo June 24, 2013, 11:31 pm

    Laura. Great article. Alex. Love this whole blog. I stop in every 6 months as I’ve been working on my own tiny place the last couple years. Little bit at a time as funding allows. Anyhow this article really caught my eye. I’ve been on staff at Dragon*Con the last several years.
    I think you’ve put together a few classes in Alpharetta. My GF lives in Alpharetta… really hope to make it out to one of your groups!

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