Tiny houses are part of a large movement for simple living — an oxymoron that Marcus Alvarado says is “redefining the American dream.”

“The bills are lower, and you get your time back,” Alvarado said. “I think that’s what everybody who is in this rat race is trying to do — get their time back. Nothing’s better than having time to travel and spend time with your family. It’s about refocusing where your values are.”

Alvarado is event coordinator for the first People’s Tiny House Festival this Friday through Sunday at the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium. He said he hopes it becomes an annual event in Colorado Springs.

Tiny house builders from around the country will display their models. Do-it-yourself builders of tiny houses, “skoolies,” camper vans and bus conversions also will attend.

Live music will be performed in the evenings by WireWood Station, The Heartstring Hunters and the Austin Young Band. Local organizations and food trucks will be on hand, too. Tickets cost $16.82, including the ticket service fee.

More than 15,000 people from 30-plus states and seven countries are expected to attend.

More event and ticket information.

“Our event is going to be extremely panel-heavy,” Alvarado said. “We want to answer questions that people have all the way from, ‘I don’t know what a tiny house is,’ to people who are ready to see what options there are locally in Colorado Springs and all throughout the Front Range.”

Many millennials like the appeal of sustainable, minimalistic housing, he said, perhaps partly because of their parents’ experience.

“It’s bigger than tiny houses,” Alvarado said. “It’s seeing larger mortgages and seeing their parent baby boomers working until they’re 80 years old to pay off the mortgage of a house that’s 3,000 square feet that they don’t spend more than a few hours a night to go to bed in.”

Tiny houses can be primary or secondary housing, he said. Some people use them as vacation homes.

“Someone can be ultra-liberal, and they want to say, ‘Screw the man,’ and go live somewhere off-grid. Or you can have someone who is ultra-conservative building out the development piece of it.”

While Colorado Springs has yet to see many “tiny housers,” the city is home to Tumbleweed Tiny House Co., the nation’s largest tiny house manufacturer.

People with young families and pets are most resistant to “tiny living,” Alvarado said. The solution? Innovation and intentional design.

“It’s all about redefining your livable space per square foot,” he said. “When you look at your house per square foot, you might have so much open space in your house. In a tiny house, every square foot has a function.”

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