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Steampunk Cons Postponed

Coronavirus outbreak leads to bans on mass gatherings in Ohio, California and other states

Friday, March 13, 2020

Two major steampunk conventions, Clockwork Alchemy in the San Francisco area and the International Steampunk Symposium in Cincinnati, have been postponed due to public health orders related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many other events of interest to steampunks also announced postponements or cancellations on Friday.

Clockwork Alchemy, originally scheduled for March 20-22 in Burlingame, California, was postponed until March 19-21, 2021. This year’s theme of “Marvelous Makers” will be rolled over to next year. “At this time, we are not offering cash refunds but will be automatically rolling over all current 2020 memberships for 2021,” the organizers stated in the announcement of the move.

The International Steampunk Symposium, originally scheduled for March 27-29, will be held August 28-30 at the Holiday Inn Eastgate in Cincinnati with the same “Weird West” theme.

“As much as possible we will be keeping the same program and vendors, but given the change of date there are bound to be several changes based on presenter and vendor availability,” wrote producer Aloysius Fox in his announcement. “There are a lot of details that need to be moved around, and we ask that you please be patient with us as we work toward resetting everything for August. We will post updates as soon as we are able.”

Scheduled presenters at the convention included maker Brett King and authors R.S. Belcher and Leanna Renee Hieber. Scheduled performers included Unwoman, The Nülydedz, and Scott Helland of Frenchy and the Punk. Unwoman was also slated to perform at Clockwork Alchemy.

Steampunk Plague Doctor
Photo: Tombanwell / CC BY-SA.

The organizers of Clockwork Alchemy are asking attendees to support the performers, authors, vendors, and other guests who were scheduled to appear. The announcement includes a list with links to their websites.

The International Steampunk Symposium also has a list of exhibiting vendors.

Update: Many other steampunk-related events were cancelled or postponed after we posted this story. They are now listed in a new page that we will update as we learn of other changes.

A Public Health Crisis

The moves in California and Ohio were mandated as authorities in those states responded to the COVID-19 outbreak. In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine barred gatherings of 100 people or more. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom banned events with 250 people or more.

Bans on large gatherings have also been announced in the Seattle area as well as Massachuetts, Oregon, and New York state.

The bans come amid other drastic moves. Among them:

  • The National Basketball Association has suspended the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
  • Major League Baseball has cancelled Spring Training games and delayed the start of the 2020 season by at least two weeks.
  • The NCAA has cancelled the 2020 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, as well as other championships scheduled through mid-June.
  • In New York City, all Broadway plays and musicals have been suspended until April 12.
  • The South by Southwest music festival and conference in Austin was cancelled.
  • The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Southern California was postponed until October.
  • The Walt Disney Company announced that its theme parks in Orlando, Anaheim, and Paris will close through the end of the month.

Public health experts say these steps are necessary to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Otherwise, the number of patients requiring hospitalization could overwhelm the U.S. healthcare system. The danger is illustrated in a widely circulated chart and the accompanying hashtag #flattenthecurve.

Flatten the Curve A
Flatten the Curve B
Credit: Original:Siouxsie Wiles and Toby MorrisDerivative:Ederporto / CC BY-SA

For more information about the outbreak and how you can protect yourself, see the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites.

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