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Tiny Home Festival gets new name, new location for 2020

Bill DeYoung

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The lines wee always long at the St. Pete Tiny Home Festival. Photos by Bill DeYoung.

Say goodbye to the St. Pete Tiny Home Festival.

In its first two years, the springtime celebration of compact living was such a success – drawing an estimated 5,000-plus visitors to the Allstate campus of St. Pete College each weekend – it’s earned a change of venue. And with that, a new name.

Say hello to the Florida Suncoast Tiny Home Festival. The dates are March 28 and 29, 2020.

The event is being moved to the 11-acre England Brothers Park, in Pinellas Park.

“Since it’s not technically in St. Pete, we couldn’t exactly keep calling it the St. Pete Tiny Home Festival,” notes Ester Venouziou, the founder of Localshops01 and the indefatigable engine behind the tiny home event.

“The City of Pinellas Park, they’ve been really amazing about having us there,” she says, adding that the City began offering England Brothers Park in 2018, after the first festival was such a rousing success.

“We just outgrew the space we had before, so we want to give it more breathing room, and to be able to bring in more tiny homes. “

Ester Venouziou with St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman at Localshops1’s inaugural Tiny Home Festival, April 2018.

England Brothers Park, just west of 49th Street at 81st Avenue North, is all about breathing room.

“It’s a really big park, it has a bandshell, it has water hookups and permanent bathrooms, which is nice for the tiny home owners. As far as getting in and out, it’s a lot easier for the homes – especially for the taller ones. They don’t have to worry about hitting a tree.”

Early-bird tickets are already on sale here. The reason, Venouziou explains, is that snowbirds are already working out their calendars for spring 2020.

A former journalist, copy editor and designer with the Tampa Bay Times, Venouziou is the founder of Shopapalooza, wherein 130 local artists, craftspeople and retailers gather in Vinoy Park each November.

The stated mission of LocalShops1 is ‘to provide advocacy, support and education to locally owned, independent businesses throughout the region.”

The inaugural tiny home festival was intended to give locals a look at another, somewhat unique option for sustainability.

“The first year, I thought there’d be more people who’d seen it on HGTV and all that, so they’d be coming just for the fun factor,” Venouziou explains. “So I was really surprised when so many came because they were interested in, either now or some day, moving into a tiny home.

“Even I used to watch the HGTV shows and think ‘This is really cute.’ But the more I started meeting the people who live in tiny homes, it’s about their whole life. They want to have a smaller footprint, and have money for other things rather than just their home.”

She’s hoping for 40 tiny homes – an increase of 20 percent over 2019 – and, hopefully, more room for more visitors with more interest in the tiny lifestyle.

It’s early, so the logistics are still on the table. The England Brothers Park bandshell, though, Venouziou’s got her eye on that.

“Maybe we can have tiny music,” she muses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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