Calling all cowboys and cowgirls for this year’s Steampunk Festival: Full Steam into the West. The fourth annual festival, hosted by Athens Public Library, will take place on Saturday, September 24.
The word steampunk, which originated in science fiction novels, is a visual reinterpretation of Victorian era clothing mixed with current technology.
Steampunk will be celebrated all around the world this September, with festivals slated in the United Kingdom and across the United States.
Daytime events, which will be held from 9 am until 5 pm, include workshops, presentations and social gatherings. Costumes are welcomed.
A few of the events attendees can expect to participate in include “crafting cool steampunk spats for your shoes and stylish ties of various kinds, learning bowling on the green 19th-century-style, madcap parlor games, a Victorian Low Tea Social and a Steampunk Fiasco story building game, not to mention presentations on the origins of steampunk fiction and the real story behind the Victorian computer known as the ‘Difference Engine’,” according to Todd Bastin, an Athens County librarian.
I spoke with Becca Lachman, Communications Officer at the Athens Public Library, over email to learn more about this year’s spectacle.
Speakeasy Magazine: How did you decide on this year’s Steampunk theme, Full Steam into the West?
Becca Lachman: The theme surfaced during a meeting of the community partners who regularly participate in Steampunk September, a month-long celebration of all things Steampunk throughout the county–the Athens Public Library, ARTS/West, Airship Athena and the Southeast Ohio History Center. Planning for this year’s events started in early January.
SM: Have you decided on next year’s theme yet? If so, what is it?
BL: I’m sure some enthusiasts within the county-wide planning team have ideas for next year’s theme, but we haven’t chosen one yet. Stay tuned!
SM: How many people are you expecting this year?
BL: Last year’s day of library events drew nearly 300 visitors from Athens, Ashtabula, Franklin, Hocking and Hamilton counties in Ohio, as well as Wood County in West Virginia. This year, we’re hoping for even more visitors and participants, especially more college students from OU and Hocking College who are looking for something fun, quirky, free and interesting to do on a weekend.
SM: How does this year’s Steampunk event differ from last years event?
BL: This year, we’re really happy to have some new community partners, including OU’s special collections in Alden Library, who have put together a Steampunk exhibit for fall semester, and the West End Cider House in Athens, who are the official “after-the-ball” spot to relax and show off costumes one last time.
SM: If students are only able to attend one event/workshop, which one should they make a priority?
BL: This is a hard question! If I were still an OU student, I’d hop on an Athens Transit bus to check out one of the presentations going on at the Athens Library if I didn’t know much about Steampunk, then head to the Rusted Rodeo Steampunk Ball at the Central Venue uptown that evening to take in the costumes, enjoy dancing and live music, and eat some fun, Steampunked refreshments. Like all the library events earlier in the day, the ball is free and open to the public. It’s sponsored by the Southeast Ohio History Center and the Airship Athena area Steampunk organization.
For more information and exact times and locations of this year’s Steampunk events, click here.