What is steampunk, anyway?

“Steampunk defies easy categorization.” — Ethan Gilsdorf, Boston Globe, November 4, 2010

While doing the research on steampunk festivals, I noticed there are as many theories about steampunk as there are people who enjoy it. And, to me, that is one of the finest things about steampunk. It is an ideal of Industrial era aesthetic, as if Victorian people have been thrust into a more technological future, but can be imagined any way a person likes. Because it’s truly and purely make-believe. I am an unabashed nerd and live in many different worlds besides reality, and this make-believe in so-many-different-styles steampunk world draws me to it, since it is anything I want it to become. And my make-believe steampunk world recognizes and accepts your make-believe steampunk world. THAT is the true beauty behind it. So many sub-genres of culture reject anything that isn’t “it” or “cool” but steampunk is accepting and a loving sub-genre of inclusivity.

“That’s not steampunk” doesn’t really apply here because steampunk is what YOU make of it.

Which brings me to the Jewelry City Steampunk Festival and dress code. To go to the Fest do I have to dress in steampunk clothing? The answer is a resounding NO. Wear what you like, as long as it is comfortable and family-appropriate (shoes required indoors, please use sense and tact.) However, as it IS Halloween weekend, costumes are encouraged! There may even be trick or treating.

—Heather Rockwood, Festival Director

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