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Big River Organizer to Produce Spring Steampunk Fest in Quincy, Illinois

Saturday, March 12, 2022

The organizer of the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri has announced plans to produce a steampunk gathering this year in Quincy, Illinois. The event, dubbed the Time Travelers Convention Spring Faire, is scheduled for May 20-22, 2022 in the city’s Clat Adams Park, along with nearby indoor venues. The event was originally slated for Washington Park, but was later moved due to space limitations. It will be smaller than the Big River festival but will have similar activities.

Tammy Riley, who assumed ownership of the Big River festival in 2020, received a $20,000 grant from Quincy’s BET on Q (Bring Events to Quincy) program to fund the new venture.

Riley told The Steampunk Explorer that the program in Quincy will include a parade, live entertainment, a costume contest, and vendors.

The entertainment, she said, will include Little Beard and the ScallyWags, a pirate comedy troupe that’s become a popular act at the Big River festival. The ScallyWags will be joined by singer/songwriter Thawind Mills, who is also set to perform this year in Hannibal.

Another attraction, she said, will be a demonstration of Highland games, which are athletic competitions that originated in Scotland. This will serve as a preview for a larger Highland games event at the Big River festival, which takes place over Labor Day weekend.

As with the larger festival, most activities in Quincy will be free, but the fair will include some ticketed events as well, she said.

Riley said she’s received an enthusiastic response from local businesses. “Quincy has welcomed us with open arms,” she said.

Quincy is about 20 miles from Hannibal, and the Big River Festival, one of the largest steampunk gatherings in the U.S., gets a lot of media attention in the region. Both cities lie on the Mississippi River and have strong ties to 19th century history. Quincy is known for historic architecture in its downtown and South Side areas.

Vendor spaces are still available for the Quincy event, and interested parties can receive an application by sending a message through the Big River Steampunk Festival Facebook page.

As for the Big River Festival, Riley said that about 90 percent of this year’s program is set. Attendees, she said, can look forward to the return of Doc Phineas, the TV personality who has served as a master of ceremonies at past festivals. He did not appear at the 2021 event.

This story was updated to reflect the new location.

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