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New Zealand Steampunk Fans to Go ‘Botanical Mechanical’ in Oamaru

Monday, May 27, 2024

“Botanical Mechanical” will be the theme as the town of Oamaru in New Zealand’s South Island once again hosts Steampunk NZ, billed as the “largest, longest running steampunk event in the Southern Hemisphere.”

The festivities kick off on Friday, May 31, with the Gate Opening Ceremony led by “festival ambassadors” Agent Darling and La Falconese. The organizers describe it as a steampunk twist on the Ceremony of the Keys, held each night at the Tower of London.

The opening will also feature a performance by Crash Bandihoot, a New Orleans-style brass band from Wellington.

Other highlights include:

• The Great World Suitcase Challenge, featuring creative projects that incorporate a suitcase and embody the “Botanical Mechanical” theme. The competition originated at Hatton Cross Steampunk in Virginia and has been staged at steampunk events around the world.

• The Steampunk Fashion Showcase, a competition with two categories: Botanical Mechanical Outfit and Botanical Mechanical Hat.

• The Botanarium of Earthly Delights Revue, described as “a risqué burlesque vaudeville extravaganza.”

• The Steampunk Street Parade on Saturday, again tied to the “Botanical Mechanical” theme.

• The Clockwork Forest Steampunk Ball, a costume ball at which next year’s theme will be revealed.

One new feature this year is the “trinket swap.” Attendees are encouraged to bring 50 small handmade trinkets, which they can swap during the weekend with other steampunks. The idea is that each participant will come home with 50 unique items, “which you can use to embellish your outfits or gadgets.”

Attendees can also look forward to workshops, a steampunk market, and, of course, teapot racing. Steampunk NZ presented the first teapot racing competition in 2014 and it’s now a staple of steampunk events worldwide.

Oamaru, also home to the Steampunk HQ art gallery, was described by The Guardian as the “steampunk capital of the world.”

For more info on the festival, see the website and Facebook page.

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