Tiny House Festival strives to leave big impact on Prince William

The for-charity event comes to Northern Virginia offering a little something for everyone.

Photo courtesy of John Kernohan

The DMV’s first Tiny House Festival will be held on the Prince William County Fairgrounds this Father’s Day weekend (June 15-17). The event is hosted by the United Tiny House Association, a Georgia-based company that stages it in various regions from California to Florida.  

True to its name, several tiny houses will be on display at this festival for visitors to view and tour, including homes on wheels, yurts, buses, teardrop trailers and vintage campers. Each day will feature several speakers active in the tiny house community who will provide insight into the dedication and lifestyle needed to maintain a tiny house. Notables are Alex Eaves, a leader in the reusing movement, Jenna Spesard from the YouTube channel and blog “Tiny House, Giant Journey” and Lee Pera, a DMV resident and founder of Boneyard Studios, the first tiny house living community in the country.  

In addition to the compact structures, there will be a wide selection of other events and activities to attend. “[Our festivals] are known as much as music festivals as they are tiny house festivals,” co-founder of the UTHA John Kernohan explains. Their traveling band, The Tiny House Band, will perform alongside local musicians, among them the Better Homes Band, Calista Garcia and Ole Kirkeng. For the kids there’s Teenie’s Tiny Wonderland, where they can learn arts and crafts, play with Legos and meet the UTHA’s mascot, Teenie. This event is non-alcoholic, but there will be an array of food vendors and drinks available—including, of course, a bus converted into a coffee shop.  

Photo courtesy of John Kernohan

All revenue from the Tiny House Festivals is given back to the local community for charities and other causes, a tradition dating back to the start of the festivals. Since their first in March 2016, the UTHA has donated over $500,000 to various charitable organizations. 

The UTHA also has a unique volunteer program in which every hour of work equals a $10 donation to the charity of the volunteer’s choice. “We like [this system] because the money typically goes to the local community,” Kernohan says. To date, the company has never turned down a volunteer’s charity. Proceeds from this D.C./Virginia Tiny House Festival will benefit DC Central Mission, Fisher House, Habitat for Humanity, The Arc of Loudoun and more.  

Friday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. is Family Day, when parents and children receive free admission plus a sneak preview of the houses before the grounds open to the larger public. Pre-registration is required. Admission that evening will be free for everyone, while children ages 12 and under are free all weekend.  Active or retired military, law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs also get in for free. // Prince William County Fairgrounds: 10624 Dumfries Road, Manassas 

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