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Attleboro Set for Steampunk Frolic

The Jewelry City Steampunk Festival adds evening entertainment to free daytime activities

Thursday, October 17, 2019
Jewelry City Steampunk Festival logo

Steampunk fans in New England will head for Attleboro, Massachusetts as the city hosts the third annual Jewelry City Steampunk Festival, Saturday, Oct. 26, at multiple locations in the downtown area. The free event will include panels, kids’ activities, teapot racing, a costume contest, gaming, and live entertainment.

New this year is a ticketed After Hours Bash on Saturday evening headlined by Victor and the Bully, a steampunk band from the UK. The festival itself runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jewelry City Steampunk Festival 2018
Photos from 2018 by Lindsay Davignon.

Once again, the Ezekiel Bates A.F. & A.M. Masonic Lodge (71 North Main Street) will serve as the festival hub, with a welcome table, vendors, food trucks, and a photo booth, as well as immersive alternate reality games.

The Attleboro Public Library across the street will host educational presentations including “Horror in Steampunk,” “Costuming 102: Detailing,” “Worldbuilding,” and “Tales of Victorian Spiritualism.” It will also host the costume contest at 4 p.m. During an opening ceremony, Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux will declare Attleboro “Jewelry City” for the day and present a “key to Jewelry City.” In the Marble Lobby, the Tiny Box Theater will offer performances of The Curiosity Shop, Seed Money, and Return If Found.

Additional presentations will be held at the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum (42 Union St), including “Steampunk: An Introduction,” “Steampunk Characters,” “Comic Book Roundtable,” “Superhuman: Stories of Houdini,” “Creating a Steampunk Character,” and “Elementary Engineering for Steampunks.”

Outdoor activities will take place on the Balfour Riverwalk behind the library, including sword fighting demonstrations, teapot racing, and bellydancing. It will also have a kids’ area with yard games and Tinker Bots (robot building kits).

The Centenary United Methodist Church (39 N. Main Street) will have a food sale and presentations on “Steampunk Women” and “Women at Work.” During a “Steampunk PowerPoint Karaoke” session at 3 p.m., experts will be challenged to discuss a steampunk topic they’ve never seen before. It’s been described as a steampunk version of improv comedy.

The Park Street Ale House (55 Park Street) will be the main entertainment venue. Performers will include The King’s Busketeers, Psyche Corporation, Old Howard Troupe, L.I.A.R.S., and King Serpent Variety Troupe.

Attleboro Mayor presents key to the city
Festival director Heather Rockwood accepts the key to the city from Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux in 2018. Photo by Lindsay Davignon.

A free trolley, leaving every 15 minutes, will transport visitors between the library and industrial museum. It is sponsored by Attleboro Jewelers.

The ticketed After Hour Bash is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Ezekiel Bates Masonic Lodge. Joining Victor and the Bully will be The King’s Busketeers, Karnevil, and Ammalilia Lotus and Friends Bellydancing. Tickets cost $25 and can be ordered through Eventbrite. It’s a 21+ event.

The festival was conceived by co-director Heather Rockwood after a 2014 visit to the Watch City Steampunk Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts. It gets its name from Attleboro’s history as a center of jewelry manufacturing. The city is about 10 miles northeast of Providence and 40 miles south of Boston.

See the festival website and Facebook page for more info.

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