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Steampunk in the Poconos

Downtown Honesdale in NE Pennsylvania will host a three-day steampunk festival

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Train rides, a costume contest and live entertainment are among the attractions at Steampunk Honesdale, a free festival scheduled for July 20-22 in the Pennsylvania town known as the birthplace of the American Railroad. This is the second installment of the event, which is hosted by the Greater Honesdale Partnership, a local civic organization. Honesdale is in northeastern Pennsylvania, about 32 miles northeast of Scranton.

Steam Locomotive

The event kicks off with a Steampunk Ball on Friday evening, July 20, at The Cooperage, a local event venue. The main festivities take place Saturday and Sunday, primarily on Main Street.

A train powered by a steam locomotive will make three short trips each day, says Gail M. Bradley, executive director of the Greater Honesdale Partnership. Close to 40 vendors will be on hand, including sellers of steampunk items as well as other craft makers.

Black and Brass, a local coffee roaster, will sponsor a costume contest. Staffers will take photos of participants, which will be uploaded to the roaster’s Instagram page. “Entries will be judged on commitment to the Steampunk genre, creativity, and technical expertise,” the roaster says. The judges will also consider each costume’s popularity on Instagram. Winners will be announced Sunday afternoon.

Fins and Feathers, a local pet store, will take photos of pets in steampunk outfits. A Steampunk Art Exhibit, including sculptures, will occupy the courtyard of The Cooperage. Loose Leaf Pages, a local tea shop, will host a steampunk film festival on Sunday.

Steampunk Bike

Other activities include tarot card readings and a “coal drop” raffle. Numbered bags of coal will be dropped from a bucket truck onto a target, with the five closest drops earning cash prizes for the ticket holders. (Bradley assured us that the prizes are not bags of coal.)

Scheduled performers include fiddler Keith Engle and Professor Adam Smasher.

Last year’s event drew attendance from across the tri-state area, she says, including Philadelphia (about 150 miles away) and New York City (about 100 miles).

The event is sponsored by Wayne Bank, Complete Health Dentistry of NEPA and Paulie’s Hot Dogs. The bank's community office on Main Street will have a working steampunk-styled ATM.

In 1829, Honesdale was the starting point for the Stourbridge Lion, the first steam locomotive operated on a commercial line in the United States. The Wayne County Historical Society Museum on Main Street has a full-scale replica of the locomotive. The boiler from the original locomotive is on display at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

Today, the Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge Railroad Company operates a 25-mile scenic railroad through the northern Poconos between Honesdale and Hawley.

This story has been updated with additional details about the event. Photos are used by permission of Greater Honesdale Partnership.

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