Eco Cabins knew its Tiny House Jamboree would be a hit, but the Colorado Springs builder of manufactured homes wasn't necessarily expecting an outcome of global proportions.
"We actually applied yesterday for a Guinness World Record for the most tiny houses and tiny house people in one place at one time," said Eco Cabins president Darin Zaruba. "We did this as a community building event bridging the gap between do-it-yourselfers and builders ... it hit national media and we just got overwhelmed. The popularity of the whole movement has been just crazy."
The three-day festival and showcase - the first of its kind celebrating the micro-housing and small living movement - was expected to draw as many as 10,000 people to the Western Museum of Mining and Industry campus for a packed schedule of speakers, a field of vendors and tours of 26 diminutive dwellings, each boasting about 200 square feet of living space. Attendance came close to that number on day one, said Chris Bacheldor, an Eco Cabins sales rep for the Denver area.
"This is what people want. They want to go tiny. They would much rather be free to be outdoors and not locked into a mortgage," he said.
For Aaron Stunkard and Hannah Caproon, who attended the jamboree Saturday, the tiny house route is less about mortgage avoidance than location-location-location.
"There's a real vacuum of houses (under $200,000) if you want to live on the west side or downtown," said Stunkard, who's been house hunting in the Springs for about two years.
Despite the fact that a tiny home would barely fit the couple's bike collection, Caproon said she'd welcome the excuse to cull.
"One of the perks is that it kind of forces you to downsize and consider what you appreciate about your lifestyle and what's important to you," she said.
A tiny house can offer big options for those who want to spread their wings, said Nelda Curtiss, of Hooper, who shares a home with her son.
"Maybe if I got my own place, my son might buy his own," Curtiss said. "And if you build it on a trailer, you can just hook it up to your SUV and off you go, into the wild blue yonder."