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Steampunk Fest Returns to Honesdale

Train rides, museum tours and a fashion parade are on tap for this event in NE Pennsylvania

Sunday, September 8, 2019
Stourbridge Lion
This 1916 painting by Clyde O. DeLand depicts the first run of the Stourbridge Lion in 1829. From Wikimedia Commons (PD-US-expired).

Steampunk fans are once again invited to the birthplace of the American Railroad as Steampunk Honesdale happens next weekend, Sept. 14 and 15, in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The festival will include themed train rides, vendors, tea dueling, museum tours, and roving musical entertainment by “phono-fiddler” Keith Engle.

Saturday’s event will coincide with Second Saturday, a monthly arts and entertainment festival in downtown Honesdale. Sunday’s event will include a steampunk Fashion Parade down Main Street at 3 p.m. Participants will gather at 2 p.m.

In 1829, Honesdale was the starting point for the Stourbridge Lion, the first steam locomotive operated on a commercial line in the United States. Today, the Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge Railroad Company (DL&S) operates the Stourbridge Line, a heritage railroad that runs through the Lackawaxen River Valley.

As part of the festival, the Stourbridge Line will offer themed “Steampunk Flyer” rides departing twice each day from Honesdale: 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and 12 noon and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 to 12. The round trip takes about an hour.

Steam Locomotive

The Movie Train Express, departing 6:45 p.m. on Saturday evening, will take passengers to the railroad equivalent of a drive-in movie. During the trip, they’ll leave the train for a screening of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $15 for kids. Passengers are advised to bring lawn chairs or blankets.

The railroad will also host short rides in a restored “speeder” on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. A speeder was a small vehicle used to inspect the track.

Festival visitors can also tour the Wayne County Historical Society Museum on Main Street, which features a full-scale replica of the original Stourbridge Lion locomotive. It will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

The society will offer a free tour of the Old Stone Jail in Honesdale on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The jail will be open Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Steampunk Honesdale is produced by The Greater Honesdale Partnership, a local civic organization. The event is sponsored by Honesdale National Bank, Dime Bank, and Honesdale Greenhouse. The greenhouse will host two bouts of tea dueling each day, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Last year’s event was held in July. Greater Honesdale Partnership director Lisa Burns said they moved it to fall for the cooler weather, which is better suited to steampunk outfits. She discussed the festival in a recent segment on WVIA-FM, a public radio station that serves the region.

Honesdale is in northeastern Pennsylvania, about 32 miles northeast of Scranton. It’s about 100 miles from New York City and 150 miles from Philadelphia. See the Greater Honesdale Partnership website for more info.

Photo of steam locomotive courtesy of The Greater Honesdale Partnership.

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