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A Steampunk Showcase in Central PA

A new Thanksgiving weekend event will feature concerts, vendors, workshops, and more

Saturday, November 10, 2018
The Cog is Dead

A concert by The Cog is Dead and a steampunk rock opera by Night Watch Paradox are among the attractions as Steampunk Showcase debuts Nov. 24 and 25 in Grantville, Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg. The event will also feature a large vendor area as well as workshops and contests for best costume, contraption and accessory.

It takes place at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg Hershey, which has nearly 20,000 square feet of exhibit space, says event producer Allen Chung.

The Cog is Dead (shown above) is a Florida-based trio who portray time travelers from 1893. They describe their influences as ranging from “rock and roll to ragtime to Russian folk music and movie scores.” Their concert on Saturday night will be a premium ticketed event.

Hailing from Baltimore, Night Watch Paradox (below) describes its music as an “eclectic fusion of original progressive rock, neoclassical, cabaret, post-punk, new wave, comedic storytelling, and other avant-garde genres.” They’ll be performing Magnificent Machines and Astonishing Tales, an original steampunk rock opera set in an alternate-world 19th century. It tells the story of privateers in a time-traveling airship who are caught up in historical events such as the War of 1812. They will perform the piece as an opener for The Cog is Dead. It is open to attendees with general-admission tickets.

Nightwatch Paradox

Other performers include fiddler Keith Engle and actress/singer Nicole Oliva. Engle focuses on the 19th century music of Ireland’s Sliabh Luachra region. “At steampunk events, I often play a type of brass-string hybrid instrument called a phonofiddle,” he says. “It looks like a cross between a trumpet and a violin, and it sounds like an old tintype photograph come to life.”

Prof. Mark P. Donnelly will present discussions of Victorian wellness fads and bizarre Victorian inventions. He’s a historian and author who has appeared on Discovery and The History Channel. Chung will present a beginner workshop on Viennese waltz. Also scheduled for workshops are steampunk makers Thomas Willeford and Amy Wilder.

The “Best Costume,” “Best Contraption,” and “Best Accessory,” and “Best Jewelry” contests are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25. The Best Accessory contest includes props. Entrants must register by 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24. There is no entry fee. A panel of three judges will choose winners in each category. Criteria include the design, materials, complexity, and how “steampunk” it is. Prizes are $100 for first place and $50 for second place in each category. Third place winners will receive free admission to the 2019 event.

Steampunk Showcase is a family-friendly event, Chung says, except for a burlesque performance and adult social late Saturday night. Those are limited to people 21+.

Tickets and location

General-admission tickets cost $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Admission to Saturday night’s The Cog is Dead concert costs an additional $18. A VIP Admission ticket costs $45 in advance or $50 at the door. It includes a Vendor Social and Gala on Friday night as well as Saturday night’s concert and adult-themed entertainment.

A brunch on Saturday costs an additional $24 in advance or $28 at the door. A VIP ticket that includes the brunch and other premium events costs $55 in advance or $65 at the door.

Tickets can be ordered from the website.

The Holiday Inn Harrisburg Hershey is located at 604 Station Rd, Grantville, PA 17028. It’s about 15 miles northeast of downtown Harrisburg and eight miles north of Hershey.

This story was updated with additional details about the schedule and contests.

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