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Steampunks Over Red Hook

Flights of Fancy in New York’s Hudson Valley is a steampunk event with an aerial twist

Saturday, September 22, 2018
Eternal Frontier

Steampunks will take to the skies as Flights of Fancy returns to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Red Hook, New York, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29. The event, presented by Hudson Valley Steampunk, will include rides in a 1929 open cockpit biplane, along with a “History of Flight Air Show” featuring airborne historic planes from as early as 1909.

Earthbound attendees can take part in a Maker’s Challenge, costume contest, Victorian picnic, and docent-led tours of the Aerodrome with its antique aircraft and land vehicles.

The Eternal Frontier, a duo featuring Baron Von Zipple and Professor Adam Smasher, will provide musical entertainment. They’re shown in the photo above.

Also on tap are silk sling aerial artist Ishia Wilson; a Birds of Prey exhibit from Ravendsbeard Bird Sanctuary; and boomerang demonstrations by David Radcliff of Rad’Rangs. Radcliff has designed a steampunk-inspired boomerang dubbed the Red Baron. About 20 vendors will be selling steampunk wares, craft spirits and other items.

The Maker’s Challenge features up to 10 entries in each of two categories: “Flying Bicycle” and “Rocket Jet Pack.” The rules specify that entries should have light, sound, and/or smoke effects, but without the use of fire or pyrotechnics. The winning entries — one in each category — will appear in a “Flying Bicycle vs Rocketeer” skit on the airfield. Don’t expect them to engage in aerial exploits — any “flying” by these contraptions will be left to the imagination. Dave Lee of Hatton Cross Steampunk is the judge.

The biplane rides last about 15 minutes and cost $100 per passenger. Winners of the Maker's Challenge and costume contest will get free biplane rides.

The all-day Victorian picnic is a “bring your own food” event. The best Victorian picnic display will receive a prize.

Dolly & Birdie

This is the second year for the event, which was conceived by Hudson Valley Steampunk founders Dolly St. Germain and Birdie Ryelove (Birdie is on the left and Dolly on the right in the photo). Doing business as Dolly & Birdie, they describe themselves as “steampunk ambassadors” and “Tea Duelling Mistresses.” They’ve participated in numerous steampunk events in the Northeast.

“The idea of the event came to us because we have this amazing living museum in our backyard, and we wanted to share it with our steampunk community and the world,” they said (in unison via email). “We just knew it would be the perfect fit...living vintage aviation and steampunk.”

Founded in 1958, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome has a large collection of aircraft from the Pioneer era (1900-1913) through the 1930s, many in airworthy condition. Some are originals whereas others are reproductions. The collection also includes antique cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Founder Cole Palen was known for his weekend air shows, where he flew the antique planes in his guise as “The Black Baron of Rhinebeck.” Dolly and Birdie describe him as “the original steampunk aviator.”

Admission costs $25 for adults and $12 for kids. If you want to purchase items from vendors, bring extra cash. Due to poor cell phone reception, they may not be able to accept credit cards.

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is located at 9 Norton Rd., Red Hook, NY 12571. It’s in New York’s Mid-Hudson region, about 100 miles north of New York City.

Photos are used by permission of Hudson Valley Steampunk.

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