fbpx 12 Months of Steampunk in 2019: Connecticut steampunks will have a busy year thanks to a series of events by Oddball Newt | The Steampunk Explorer

12 Months of Steampunk in 2019

Connecticut steampunks will have a busy year thanks to a series of events by Oddball Newt

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Event organizer David Carlson has big plans for 2019, as he rolls out “12 Months of Steampunk,” a series of gatherings in Connecticut that will include a tea house crawl, photo shoots, a literary festival, street fair, and holiday-themed parties. The events are produced by his company, Oddball Newt.

“For many years, Connecticut steampunks had one annual event to attend,” he says, referring to the Brass Ring Academy and Cabaret in Bristol. “The rest of the time, we had to go out of state to get our steam on.”

Many of Carlson’s events will take place in Manchester, a town near Hartford that he envisions as a steampunk hub. The town has already hosted two annual happenings, the Stupid Cupid Steampunk Ball in February and Steam Rollin’ festival in September. In 2017, Mayor Jay Moran proclaimed Sept. 7 as “Steampunk Day in Manchester” in honor of the festival (see our story, “Letter from Manchester”).

The town is nicknamed “Silk City” due to its history as a center of silk manufacturing in the 19th and early 20 centuries.

Other event locations include Norwich, about 40 miles southeast of Hartford, and Torrington, about 25 miles west of the capital city.

Though he expects most attendees to be from Connecticut, past events have drawn people from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

Steampunks on Skates

Victorian Skate Fantasy

The series kicked off on Jan. 5 with a Victorian Skate Fantasy at an ice-skating rink in Bolton. Participants were challenged to take to the ice in steampunk or Victorian garb. It appears that they were up to the task.

One, Garrett Brockert (above right in top hat), is a skating coach and a former national competitor in ice dance. Another participant was Nicole Oliva Soprano (above left), a singer, actress and cosplayer who also appeared at the recent Steampunk Showcase near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Carlson is pictured in the center.)

The other activities are listed below.

February - Stupid Cupid Steampunk Ball

When: Saturday, Feb. 23, 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.

Where: Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Rd., Manchester, CT 06040

This is the fourth edition of the event, billed as a “stupendous evening of Steampunk, Goth, Whovian and Muggle Mingling.” The program features performances by Victor and the Bully, Montague Jacques Fromage, and Offbeat Souls.

Other activities will include the Kiss Design fashion show; a panel by Jesse Bessette of Quartermaster Whips and Leathercraft; and literary presentations by authors Dexter Herron and Jesse Lucci. The event will also include vendors. Food and drinks will be available for sale.

Tickets cost $30, or $25 if purchased before Feb. 21. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Queenie Foundation, an animal rescue organization. See the Facebook page for more info. Tickets can be ordered here.

March - St. Paddy’s Day Parade, March 3

When: Sunday, March 23, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Where: Downtown Norwich

Carlson is inviting steampunks to participate in the St. Patrick’s Parade & Festival in the historic downtown of Norwich. He plans to organize a float, as well as entertainment that will include hula hoopers and jugglers. “I’m trying to get designers to model stuff on the float,” he says.

See the Facebook page.

Also happening in March is the above-mentioned Brass Ring Academy and Cabaret, a fundraising event for the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol. This year’s edition is scheduled for March 9. Confirmed guests include The Eternal Frontier, Them Damn Hamiltons, and White Elephant Burlesque.

April - Get Steeped Tea House Crawl

When: Weekends in April

Where: Multiple locations throughout Connecticut

For April, he plans a series of tea house crawls each weekend, beginning April 6. Crawlers will hit two or three locations each weekend. One visit will be a sit-down event, whereas the others will be educational presentations. One location on the itinerary is Blue Lotus, a new tea house in Manchester.

See the Facebook page.

May - Music and Maritime Mystery at the Mansion

When: Saturday, May 11, 4 p.m.-7 p.m. (This date may change.)

Where: Charles Cheney Inn, 131 Hartford Rd., Manchester, CT 06040

This nautically themed event will include songs by Eli August and an interactive “maritime mystery” involving the Titanic and spirits from the beyond. The mystery will be presented by entertainer and paranormalist Vince Wilson. Participants are encouraged to attend in steampunk or Victorian garb.

This ticketed event takes place in a historic mansion, built in 1864, that’s now a bed and breakfast.

See the Facebook page for more info.

June - Steamy Tech

When: Saturday, June 29, 1 p.m.

Where: Charles Cheney Mansion, 133 Hartford Rd., Manchester, CT 06040

Originally envisioned as an education-focused maker convention, it’s now a steampunk gathering with music, makers, vendors, food, art, fashion shows, and a movie screening.

See the Facebook page for info.

July - Steampunking in the Park

When: Saturday, July 20, 4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Where: Wickham Park, 1329 Middle Turnpike West, Manchester, CT 06040

This will be the fourth edition of a steampunk photoshoot. Some past events have followed themes, such as recreations of famous paintings in 2018. But he’s not sure if that will be the case this year. Attendance is free.

See the Facebook page for details.

Update: This event was moved to August 10 due to a heat wave. The Muenster's Cheese Ball, originally scheduled for August, was postponed to October but might not be happening.

September - Steam Rollin’ III

When: Thursday, Sept. 5, 6 p.m.

Where: Downtown Manchester.

This will be the third edition of a steampunk-themed street fair. Carlson produces the event in conjunction with Imagine Main Street, a local civic organization. Past events have included musical guests and other live entertainment as well as contests and vendors.

See the Facebook page.

November - Book Fiend Readers Fest

When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where: Norwich Arts Center, 60-64 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360

“I’m excited about all my events, but this one I’m most excited about,” Carlson says. This “celebration of steampunk, sci fi and fantasy writers” will feature meet-and-greets with authors from across the U.S. and maybe other countries. He also plans to host dramatic readings, photo shoots, and musical acts.

See the Facebook page for details.

December - Bah Humbug Hullabaloo

When: Saturday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Where: Manchester Historical Society, 175 Pine St, Manchester, CT 06040

A steampunk holiday party.

See the Facebook page for info.

Other events

In addition to these scheduled events, Carlson expects to organize monthly meetups through the Silk City Steampunk group. These will include field trips to museums, escape rooms, tea houses, antique stores and more.

He also plans to work with Imagine Main Street to incorporate steampunk programming into the group’s other events. “That’s potentially 36 Connecticut-based steampunk events in 2019,” he says. “The Connecticut steampunk scene is going to have plenty to do this year. If you miss one, there’s always one the next month.”

If you’d like to participate, he advises you to follow the Oddball Newt Facebook page and join the Silk City Steampunk meetup group.

This story has been updated with schedule changes and more details about some of the events.

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