Just off I-80, at the Jasper County Fairgrounds in Colfax, a lot of Iowans (myself included!) showed big interest last weekend in a very tiny way of living.
On my way back from a very busy weekend in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Solon, and Riverside, I hit up the last few hours of TinyFest Midwest, the multi-day festival that showcased the latest trends in tiny housing and minimalism.
A lot of the programming, including seminars and speakers, had been earlier in the weekend and I missed all of that. However, the big reason for stopping was to be able to tour through as many of the tiny houses that showed to be showcased. I don't know if any of the houses had to depart early, but there were maybe about 20 to 25 on the grounds at the time I was there.
Additionally, the Iowa Craft Beer Tent and other food vendors were still serving. A local musician was performing, albeit for just a few people on lawn chairs sitting nearby. Inside one of the fairground's buildings was a few vendors who were selling festival merchandise and environmentally-friendly toilets, among other things.
I made my way through each house. Obviously, it does not take long to get through a house since many of these are quite small. However, I enjoyed visiting with the owners and checking out their innovative solutions for making the absolute most of the limited space they are choosing to live in.
Three houses, notably, were very interesting to me.
Joppa, an organization located in the Des Moines metro, is trying to put together the land and resources to build a tiny house village for some of the homeless population in the metro. They have ambitious goals and it was interesting to learn about what they hope to accomplish. They noted that over 3000 people went through their house over the weekend and they received many donations to help fund their cause. The photo montage below shows a bit of what they hope to accomplish.
Next, there was a house built by some University of Northern Iowa students. They are working to build these houses, through a class at UNI, in order to donate to Joppa.
Lastly, Go Serv Global showed off their grain bin huts that are manufactured by Sukup Mfg in Sheffield, Iowa. Many churches and non-profits in recent years have raised money to sponsor the construction and placement of one of these homes for families in countries, many of them 3rd world, that are desperately in need shelter.
Truthfully, I found something interesting and unique about all of the homes. Enjoy a look at the various montages below to get a taste for what these homes were all about.
The cost to attend the festival was $15, which was pretty steep. However, it was an extremely interesting stop and the organizers of the festival clearly tapped into the collective curiosity of the general public. The shows on television have helped to drive that, no doubt.
All in all, this was a great stop to end a full weekend. This was the first TinyFest Midwest but I hope it was not the last. As long as the "tiny trend" continues to grow, hopefully it becomes an annual event.