Steam Rollin’ Returns to Manchester

The historic town near Hartford, Connecticut will host the free outdoor steampunk festival

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Frenchy and the Punk will be the headliners as Steam Rollin’ returns to downtown Manchester, Connecticut, on Thursday, September 6, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The festival will also feature a mustache and beard contest, a hat pageant, numerous vendors, and a hooping performance by Caitlin Brehart, aka Cait the Great.

Other performers include 41 Prospect, The Guinea Pigs, Bill Benson, Time Was, Town Troubadour Bill Ludwig, Never Look Back, and Alex Forest.

Frenchy and the Punk

“We will also have a bunch of old timey bicycles thanks to Alan Ponder from CT Wheelmen,” says event organizer David Carlson. And “Manchester’s very own bards, The Wit and Wisdom Poetry Club, will be there reading their poetry,” including works about hats and beards.

The festival will occupy five blocks of downtown Manchester, about nine miles east of central Hartford. The town’s Army Navy Club will serve as an indoor location in case of rain.

Frenchy and the Punk, a duo who frequently appear at steampunk events, will be performing their classics, new covers, and music from their forthcoming album “Hooray Beret,” Carlson says. “I’m working on getting the booking agents from different Manchester bars and pubs to come to Steam Rollin’ to see Frenchy and the Punk perform so they will book them in Manchester. I don’t want to have to keep driving all the way to Putnam or New Haven to see Frenchy. I want to walk to my neighborhood pub and see them. I’m a man of convenience.”

The event is hosted by Imagine Main Street, a civic organization seeking to revitalize the downtown area. It’s the final Imagine Main Street event of the season.

The Mayor

Last year, Manchester Mayor Jay Moran recognized the event by proclaiming an official Steampunk Day in Manchester. However, Carlson isn’t sure if the mayor will be doing so this time.

Manchester is known as Silk City due to its history as a center of silk manufacturing in the 1800s. Much of the southern part of town has been designated as the Cheney Brothers Historic District, named for the family that started the silk business.

Carlson has been trying to establish the town as a steampunk hub. Through his event-planning business, Oddball Newt, he organizes the Stupid Cupid Steampunk Ball, which is scheduled for February 24, 2019, at Manchester’s Cheney Hall. He’s also the administrator of Silk City Steampunk, a Facebook group with 184 members.

The photos are from the 2017 Steam Rollin’ festival. Top: Frenchy and the Punk. Bottom: Manchester Mayor Jay Moran with Professor Adam Smasher and David Carlson. They are used by permission of Oddball Newt.


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