- City Guides
A Steampunk Autumn in New England
Festivals in Vermont and Connecticut kick off a busy season of steampunk events in the region
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Steampunk fans in New England can look forward to an eventful autumn — in the literal sense of the term — as numerous events are scheduled from late September through December. The fun begins with steampunk gatherings in Vermont and Connecticut.
As always, you should check the event website or Facebook page in case of late changes or cancellations.
Springfield Steampunk Festival
When: Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Multiple locations in Springfield, Vermont
This steampunk festival returns to Springfield, Vermont after being on hiatus in 2018. The theme this year is “The Kraken,” which will also encompass pirate lore. The program includes tea dueling, Splendid Teapot Races, the SteamWreck Fashion Show, and a series of panels hosted by circus sideshow performers Karnevil. Ryder Cooley and the Dust Bowl Faeries headline a musical lineup that also includes The Eternal Frontier, Indie Gomez, and the Shank Painters.
The Hartness House Inn, 30 Orchard St., will host live music, workshops, and panels. Vendors and artists will show their work at Riverside Middle School, which will also have a beer tent, food trucks, and kids’ activities. Additional activities, including workshops, will be hosted by businesses on Springfield’s Main Street. Shuttle buses will transport attendees between the locations.
The festival tickets will function as treasure maps that guide attendees to workshops around town. As they complete workshops, they’ll receive stickers that they can cash in for raffle prizes.
The event is produced by the Steampunk Society of Vermont. Adult tickets (ages 16+) cost $50. Kids 5 to 15 can attend for $25. Proceeds benefit the society’s scholarship program.
Compass Rose Steampunk Festival
When: Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Roseland Cottage, 556 Route 169, Woodstock, Connecticut
This will be the second annual steampunk fest at Roseland Cottage, a Victorian-era Gothic Revival mansion now operated as a museum by Historic New England.
The event will feature vendors, teapot racing, and a performance by Frenchy and the Punk. Tyra Penn and Her Army of Snakes is also performing. Guides in steampunk outfits will lead first-floor mansion tours. A crafts tent will offer activities for kids.
Steampunk Retro Futurism Party - First Fridays
When: Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Putnam, Connecticut.
This gathering is part of Putnam’s First Fridays, a series of monthly festivals that run from May through October. The program includes a costume competition, Gadget and Gizmo Art Contest, creepy Halloween carols, and a Steam Music Pub Crawl. Steampunk maker Bruce Rosenbaum is the special guest speaker.
You can find additional details on the event’s Facebook page.
Machen Bachen: A Steampunk Festival
When: Saturday, Oct 5, 2019
Where: YMCA Camp Lincoln, 67 Ball Rd., Kingston, NH 03848
This festival is hosted by Citizens of Antiford, a group of steampunk enthusiasts that participates in events throughout New England. The program will include music, teapot racing, food, games, and vendors. Scheduled performers include The King Serpent Variety Troupe, The Shank Painters, and Karnevil. Admission costs $5 in advance and $8 at the door.
Jewelry City Steampunk Festival
When: Saturday, Oct 26, 2019
Where: Downtown Attleboro, Massachusetts
This will be the third edition of the steampunk festival, which takes place at multiple locations in downtown Attleboro. Activities will include panel discussions, live music, sword-fighting demonstrations, a Women at Work Museum, and an alternate reality game. Attleboro Jewelers will sponsor a downtown trolley.
The venues include the Attleboro Public Library, Attleboro Area Industrial Museum, Balfour Riverwalk Park, and Centenary United Methodist Church.
The festival gets its name from Attleboro’s history as a center of jewelry manufacturing.
Leading up to the festival, the organizers have been presenting a series of smaller events dubbed “Five Months of Steampunk.” Next up is a “Fauxligraphy” class at the Attleboro Public Library, Thursday, Sept. 26, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Two days before the festival, the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum will host a “TinkerBots” make-and-take event.
Book Fiend Readers Fest
When: Saturday, Nov 9, 2019, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Norwich Arts Center, 60-64 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360
Produced by Oddball Newt, this event is described as a “celebration of Steampunk, SF, Fantasy, and Horror authors and their works.” Scheduled authors include Paul Di Filippo, Leigh Grossman, Leanna Renée Hieber, R.A. McCandless, Phoebe Darqueling, Elizabeth Chatsworth, Geoff Genge, Jessica Lucci, Anne Renwick, Joseph Carrabis, and William J. Jackson. The program will include book signings, panels, readings, and costume contests.
Attendees are welcome to dress up as “their favorite author, character or thematic element.”
Tickets cost $25 in advance (through Nov. 8) and $30 at the door. Admission is $15 for seniors and kids 16 and under.
The festival will be followed by an after-party mixer at Foundry 66 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
See the Facebook page for more info.
When: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Castle Hill at the Crane Estate, 290 Argilla Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938
Attendees will participate in an interactive theatrical game that takes advantage of the setting, a 1920s-era mansion that’s now a tourist attraction. The immersive story, produced by Curious Experience Designs, revolves around Fulcrum Industries, a fictional manufacturer of machinery, airships, automatons, and fashion.
Fulcrum Industries shareholders are meeting at the estate to elect an executive director, “but this year there are other forces at play, from the grease monkeys feeding the boilers below to the domestic automatons watching from the sidelines,” the description says.
Participants will interact with actors portraying steampunk characters. They’ll be challenged to solve puzzles and make choices that guide the storyline.
The event was originally scheduled for July 12, but was postponed to Nov. 16. It’s hosted by Trustees of Reservations, the non-profit that owns and manages the estate.
Bah Humbug Hullabaloo
When: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Manchester Historical Society, 175 Pine St, Manchester, CT 06040
This steampunk-themed holiday party will offer live music, games, vendors, and panels on Victorian-era traditions. It’s hosted by Oddball Newt and the Manchester Historical Society.
Tickets cost $30 in advance and $35 at the door. It’s $25 for kids, seniors, and society members. Proceeds benefit the society.
See the Facebook page for more info.
Looking farther ahead, the next Watch City Steampunk Festival is scheduled for May 9, 2020, in Waltham, Massachusetts. Presented by the Downtown Waltham Partnership, it’s one of the largest steampunk events in the U.S., drawing as many as 10,000 people. The organizers are currently accepting applications for vendors and performers. See the website for more info.
Correction: This story originally listed the date for the Machen Bachen festival as Oct. 12. It is scheduled for Oct. 5.
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