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This Weekend: Cogs & Corsets, SteamPunk Tea Party, ASDO, and More

Monday, June 3, 2024

Steampunk fans will stage a friendly invasion of downtown Bloomington, Illinois, as Cogs & Corsets returns this weekend. Other highlights on the calendar include a steampunk-style Juneteenth celebration in Omaha, Nebraska, and a time travelers' festival in Des Moines, Iowa. Meanwhile, fans in the U.K. will welcome the return of A Splendid Day Out after a lengthy hiatus.

Cogs & Corsets

This “Steampunk Happening” returns June 7-8 to Bloomington, Illinois with a program that includes live music, games, talks, workshops, a fashion show, costume contest, tea dueling, teapot racing, and more. This will be the seventh year for the family-friendly event, which is held at multiple downtown locations. Many activities are free.

Friday night’s festivities will be held in conjunction with downtown Bloomington’s First Friday celebration, including an interactive steampunk mystery game at Shake It Up, a local cocktail lounge.

But the main event happens on Saturday, when the organizers will set up an outdoor vendor market and activity zone at Main and Monroe streets with food trucks, games, and a performance stage. Musical guests include singer-songwriter Chris Corkery and The Sweet Nothings, who describe their sound as melodic punk.

Other activities, including tea dueling and nerf dueling, will take place nearby at the McLean County Democratic Headquarters. Jason Dean of the Chicago Steampunk Exposition will present two free talks, on steampunk LARPs and the history of steampunk. The facility will also have a free photo booth.

Meanwhile, the Inside Out Accessible Art Gallery will host a series of make-and-take workshops, and the Eaton Studio Gallery will present a steampunk tea. Tickets for the latter cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

Following the day’s festivities, visitors can meet up for a free outdoor concert by Hairbangers Ball, a 1980s cover band from Chicago. The show, produced by The Castle Theatre, Pantagraph Media, and the City of Bloomington, begins at 7 p.m. Beginning at 8 p.m., guests can head over to a private club at 101 E Mulberry for Retro Rewind, a 21-plus event with a DJ, dancing, and light show. Tickets for the latter cost $10.

Last year’s festival took place during a heat wave, but this year’s forecast calls for sunny skies and high temperatures around 80 F.

For more info, see the website and Facebook page. The website has the complete schedule.

SteamPunk Tea Party

The House of Afros, Capes and Curls in Omaha, Nebraska once again will present this steampunk-style Juneteenth celebration. It’s billed as a “multi-sensory, retrofuturistic event highlighting the vibrant history and success of Black Victorian-era inventors, entrepreneurs, and activists.”

It takes place on Saturday, June 8, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Joslyn Castle, 3902 Davenport St, Omaha, NE 68131.

The main event on Saturday will be preceded by a Friday night market with workshops, vendors, and food trucks. That’s slated for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, 3448 Evans St. in Omaha.

The House of Afros, Capes and Curls is a non-profit that describes itself “as a vehicle for POC to build more inclusive environments to engage around seemingly non-traditional spaces such as gaming, comics, science fiction, media, and media.”

Learn more on the website.

Times of Future Past

This self-described “festival for any era,” takes place June 8-9 at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park in Des Moines, Iowa. The event combines history and fantasy, including steampunk. Activities include music, costume contests, gaming, an artisan marketplace, and historical re-enactors.

The festival was originally held in Des Moines, but recent editions took place in northeastern Wisconsin.

Adult tickets cost $24 for the weekend or $12 for a day pass. Day passes cost $6 for kids 6-12. A portion of the proceeds benefit Make-A-Wish Iowa.

See the website for more info.

2nd Annual Oddities & Curiosities Show at Preston Castle

The Menagerie is back with another Oddities & Curiosities show in Northern California, this time at Preston Castle, a reputedly haunted landmark in Ione, near Sacramento. It will feature artisan vendors along with workshops, tarot readings, sideshow performances, DJs, and talks by Doctor R. Snick.

General admission tickets cost $15. Castle tours cost an additional $18 in advance or $25 at the door. See the Eventbrite page for more info.

SFWA Nebula Conference

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association will present their annual conference featuring a weekend of panels plus presentation of the Nebula Awards, among the most prestigious honors in speculative fiction.

The in-person event takes place June 6-9 at the Westin Pasadena in Pasadena, California. It will also be held online. You need not be an SFWA member to attend. Conference tickets cost $150 (online only) or $449 (in-person). SFWA offers scholarships for members of underserved communities and those who face financial barriers, but the deadline was in March. See the website for more info.

A Splendid Day Out

This festival returns June 7-9 to Morecambe, U.K. for the first time since the pandemic. The theme is “A Great SteamFae Gathering,” in reference to the TV series Carnival Row.

Free daytime activities take place at The Platform on the Morecambe promenade. They include a steampunk market, live music, teapot racing, tea dueling, and a parade.

The festival will also feature two nights of live music at The Kings Arms. Frenchy and the Punk will perform on Friday night with Madam Zuri Arose and Blozone Delivery. Alice Strange, Lazlo Baby, Brass Brothers, and Moons of Jupiter will take the stage on Saturday night.

See the Facebook page for more info.

Event info: 

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