You don’t have to come in full steampunk regalia to enjoy a steampunk festival, although looking at others in steampunk regalia is half the fun. You don’t have to be an expert at steampunk culture to enjoy a steampunk festival, either.
However, if you want to steep yourself a little bit in the culture before the festival, I have some suggestions.
A great resource to peruse over a steamy cup of tea is The Steampunk Museum. This great website is a curated collection of all things steampunk, both historical and in the present day community. With a sizable collection and with 1,200 upcoming exhibits, the site is an incredible resource.
You may already enjoy some steampunk movie favorites of mine. Hugo is a movie based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik about an orphan boy who lives in a clock at a train station; what’s not steampunk about that? The Golden Compass movie from 2007, based on Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy from 1995, has many steampunk elements in an alternate universe setting that mixes magic and science.
And it’s not just kid movies that are steampunk: the 1999 steampunk western film Wild Wild West, the 2009 Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr., and the 2004 Van Helsing all rely heavily on steampunk-style gadgetry and fashion, demonstrating the range of the steampunk aesthetic.
If you like what you see and want to go further, I suggest reading a novel or two. A good dirigible-themed bustled-heroine drama can’t go wrong, right? Check out the Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest, starting with the novel Boneshaker, which features an alternate Civil War era America with both zeppelins and zombies; the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, about World War I era intrigue; and the steampunk paranormal romance series The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger, beginning with her novel Soulless.
I hear that our local library will be picking up some steampunk favorites in the near future, so keep on the lookout for those. A good list of more steampunk novels can be found here.
And of course my heart lives in the comic book world, where there are quite a few steampunk worlds. Take a look at this list.
I hope you get the chance to watch a steampunk movie or read a steampunk novel before the festival, then come see what it’s like in real life on October 28, 2017!
—Heather Rockwood, Festival Director