PLATTSMOUTH—It’s called steampunk and it has a rather hot following.
Local folks will have a chance to see it for themselves next June.
“It’s quite extraordinary,” said Shannon Lewis, project manager of the Plattsmouth Conservancy Steampunk Committee, who is also a resident here.
According to information she provided, steampunk is a fantasy genre that incorporates steam-powered machinery with 19th century aesthetics and technology, often including an alternative history.
This genre has influenced novels, comic books, clothing, costumes, artifacts and artwork. Some examples include the literary works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and the movie Wild Wild West.
In its simplest form, the definition of steampunk is Victorian-era science fiction.
Elizabeth Schwartz, president of the Steampunk Society of Nebraska, added, “Steampunk is a look at how life would be if life relied on steam power—either by not having advanced past steam power or having had to go back to steam power. The steampunk genre encompasses art, music, fashion, literature, and people who make ‘gadgets.’ Steampunk usually relates to the Victorian age since that was the height of steam power, but can also be post-apocalyptic reverting back to steam as a power source.”
A steampunk festival, according to Lewis, is generally comprised of merchandise and food vendors, and public attractions that appeal to the steampunk fandom. These frequently include items for sale such as costumes, steam powered contraptions—working or purely aesthetic—artwork, novels and trinkets.
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Entertainment is found by way of contests, such as teapot racing, parasol (umbrella) dueling, costume contests and tea dueling, performances, steam-powered contraptions, and photo-ops, just to name a few, according to Lewis.
She is also hoping to hold a true history series, as opposed to the alternate history that attracts many to steampunk.
Plans are being set to bring a steampunk festival to Main Street downtown for two days, next June 13, a Saturday, and June 14. The event was approved by the city council at its last meeting.
“There are a lot of these festivals around the country,” Lewis said. “We are going to advertise this in other states.”
She plans on holding meetings with downtown businesses soon to address any concerns they may have about street closures and other issues.
The event could bring in more business for these stores, she added. It’s hoped that perhaps 1,000 people will attend the festival, Lewis said.
“We’re hoping to pull in folks from out of town. Of course, we want to bring local residents to the event, but also people who may have never been to Plattsmouth.”