- City Guides
Steampunk Fest in Oxnard
About 1000 visitors are expected for this event in the city’s historic Heritage Square
Thursday, October 4, 2018
The Velveteen Band, Doc Phineas T. Kastle and cosplay expert Tayliss Forge will be among the guests as the Oxnard Steampunk Fest returns Oct. 13 and 14 to Heritage Square in downtown Oxnard, California.
This is the fourth year for the event, which will also feature a costume contest, parasol dueling, tea dueling, an “Oddities and Novelties” exhibit, and a merchant bazaar with about 45 vendors. It draws about 1000 visitors each year, says festival chairman Gary Blum.
Heritage Square is a large city block containing historic buildings that were moved from their original locations in Oxnard and restored to their former condition.
Doc Phineas, who will serve as MC, is an archaeologist and TV personality known for his appearances on The History Channel’s “Pawn Stars.” The Velveteen Band, from nearby Ventura, describes itself as a “theatrical rock ensemble” that “features puppets on vocals, a deranged mad scientist, and is led by a six-foot trumpet playing rabbit named the Baron Von Velveteen.” The band will play on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. Forge is a costume designer and propmaker who often models her work at anime and comic conventions. She was a contestant on the reality TV show “Steampunk’d.”
The “Oddities and Novelties” exhibit will feature “items made from bones, unique jewelry, insects, even a live tarantula and snake,” Blum says. This year it will occupy a basement in one of the Victorian mansions on the square.
David L. Drake & Katherine L. Morse, authors of (and characters in) The Adventures of Drake & McTrowell, will be presenting their Theatre of the Historically Improbable.
“We are still wrapping up the guest speakers, but if folks follow our social media we will be announcing them soon,” Blum says.
The festival serves as a fundraiser for the Friends of Heritage Square and Oxnard Heritage Foundation. It was conceived as “a draw to bring locals and out-of-towners to discover Heritage Square,” Blum says. “We thought it would attract younger people and be a great kid-friendly event.”
About half of the visitors are from Ventura County, he says, but the festival also draws steampunk enthusiasts from other parts of California.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14. Tickets cost $15 per day, or $8 per day for students, seniors or military. Kids under 15 are admitted for free.
An “Alice In Steamland VIP Tea Party” is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. Tickets for the tea party cost $15 per person in addition to festival admission. It’s limited to 50 people.
Photos by Angela Smith (top left) and Katie Radebaugh (bottom right). Used by permission of Oxnard Steampunk Fest.
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