Whether you're a steampunk enthusiast, or just curious about the fiction genre that has developed a cult-like following, you may want to make plans to be in Springfield this September. The inaugural Springfield Steampunk Festival is happening September 11-13.
According to the festival's website, the festival grew out of a Facebook group of Vermont steampunk fans. As plans for a festival began to materialize, the group organized itself into the Steampunk Society of Vermont. The newly formed society partnered with Hartness House Inn in presenting the festival as a benefit for the Springfield Community Center, which is run by the town's Parks and Recreation Department.
If you're not sure what steampunk is, here's how the festival's website describes its subject:
Steampunk takes its inspiration from writers of the Victorian age, namely Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. The fantasy worlds created by these authors combined with our present day knowledge of science and technology drives Steampunk imagination. A futuristic Victorian Age where technology is powered by steam or gears (similar to a watch that runs on gears) rather than electricity.
Steampunk has evolved over the years into fashion, engineering, music, art and for some, a lifestyle. Picture modern conveniences designed with a Victorian aesthetic, where machines and accouterments of the industrial age are seen not only as utilitarian but as things of beauty and awe.
The “punk” in Steampunk comes from engaging in the unconventional through creativity and declaring ones individuality by means of fashion, style, art or attitude, setting themselves apart.
The Steampunk Society of Vermont notes Springfield is home to many inventions, including the turret telescope, the clothespin, jointed dolls, and the steam shovel. The festival website states:
Springfield Vermont is in an area called Precision Valley. Once a bustling industrial age town, Springfield was known far and wide for its gear shaper, tool, spindle and grinder factories. Springfield and the Precision Valley have a rich history of industry and innovation. That's why we are turning Springfield into the Steampunk Capital of Vermont!
Festival organizers say they want to "put Springfield back on the map as a place where imagination happens and gears till turn."