- City Guides
Steampunk Cheer at Mad Hatter Parade
This whimsical parade is a holiday tradition in Vallejo, California, home of Obtainium Works
Monday, December 3, 2018
A “SteamPunk Santa” and his spiffy new sleigh were among the highlights of the 9th annual Mad Hatter Holiday Parade, held on Saturday, Dec. 1 in Vallejo, California. It was a holiday celebration like no other, featuring a fleet of whimsical art cars from Obtainium Works, along with characters from the worlds of steampunk, Star Wars and Alice in Wonderland.
Dubbed the “Rudolph 5000,” the sleigh was designed by Obtainium Works leader Shannon O’Hare for “Vallejo SteamPunk Santa” Thomas Bilbo. The parade was the public debut for the contraption, which was built on a golf cart chassis and made largely from “obtainium.” That’s O’Hare’s term for materials that are not “bought new, but obtained in other ways, such as second-hand, dumpster diving, chance findings or donations.”
Bilbo recruited a cadre of elves who walked alongside during the parade, handing out candy and occasionally dancing as rock n’ roll Christmas tunes blared from a loudspeaker.
Other vehicles from Obtainium Works included a giant mobile teapot, a steampunk pirate ship, and the steam-powered Kristy’s Flyer. The latter two projects were seen in a recent episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC. Several participants scooted along the parade route in motorized hoop skirts.
Vallejo mayor Bob Sampayan showed up in fine steampunk attire and waved to parade-goers as he drove the Diversity Cab, yet another contraption from Obtainium Works.
The parade also featured vehicles from other makers, most notably Rhino Redemption, a large art truck resembling a rhinoceros that was built in 2014 for Burning Man.
Kate Marusina of Sacramento joined in with a new art car based on Ohmu, a gigantic insect-like creature from the anime film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Much of the parade happened after dark, and Ohmu was one of many vehicles that took advantage with colorful lighting effects.
You can get a look at the festivities — and the preparations before the parade — in the photo gallery below.
Keep up with news in the world of steampunk. Sign up for our free weekly Steampunk Digest, delivered to your inbox.
The Steampunk Explorer is on Patreon. A monthly pledge of $1 or more supports our work and provides access to premium content. Get the details here.