August 26, 2010

Steampunk Thursday #5 - Steampunk Conventions

It's probably not surprising that as the popularity of steampunk has grown, conventions have spung up around the theme.  Some have been around for a while, but more and more new ones are popping up.  Besides conventions entirely centered around the steampunk culture and Victoriana, big conventions like Dragon*Con feature extensive steampunk tracks.  I've also noticed more and more steampunk costumes showing up at places like San Diego Comic-Con and local renaissance and pirate faires.  There was even an offsite steampunk gala during SDCC this year.

What can you expect from a steampunk convention?  As I've not been to one (yet), I'm going by the word of the internet.  I hear that things on the internet are occasionally true.  Look for guests of honor that include authors, artists, and costume and prop makers.  Cherie Priest will be at the Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition, and the gentleman in the below image - Nick Baumann - will be at the Gaslight Gathering.  You will find musicians like Abney Park and entertainment including stage shows and street artists.  I also found that every convention has extensive paneling on costuming and props.  You will find more than just one panel titled "not just about gears," and from my experience meeting steampunk bedecked folks, they will be more than happy to share their knowledge and provide how-tos.  Other panels I browsed were focused on literature, making calling cards, and character creation.  TeslaCon even has dueling and fencing classes.

You know that every convention will have a vendor's hall too.  You will be surrounded by more top hats, bustles, and curiosities than you can count.  The venues for the cons range from hotels to places like the Old Tucson studios where movies like Tombstone were filmed (Wild Wild West Con). 

The best part of attending a convention like this though?  If you enjoy Victorian  culture and costumes, you will be surrounded by hundreds or thousands of people who think the same way.  Imagine the conversations you'll have at 2am over glasses of absinthe!

List of Upcoming Steampunk Conventions in the US
Tesla Con
November 5-7, 2010
Madison, Wisconsin

Steamcon II
November 19-21, 2010
Seattle, Washington

Wild Wild West Con
March 4-6, 2011
Tucson, Arizona

Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition
March 25-27, 2011
Santa Clara, California

Gaslight Gathering
May 6-8, 2011
San Diego, California

Steampunk World's Fair
May 20-22, 2011
Somerset, New Jersey

World Steam Expo
May 27-30, 2011
Dearborn, Michigan

I'm going to try to make it to Wild Wild West Con.  Have any of you been to a steampunk convention before?

For more steampunk Thursday posts, just click here for posts by me and here for posts by Mary.


  1. I'm totally going to try and sneakily include a trip to a steampunk con in my US trip next year...

    Awesome post!

    I bought a corset yesterday.. and almost a pocketwatch :p

  2. Mary - I really want to go to the Wild Wild West Con. The setting is just too awesome... but I'm glad that there are so many.

    I want to see the corset!!

  3. Hello

    I am the Marketing and Promotions Coordinator for The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition. We are a steampunk convention being held September 16 to 18, 2011.

    Here are the specifics:

    Where: Courtyard Fitchburg 150 Royal Plaza Drive · Fitchburg, Massachusetts 01420 USA

    When: September 16 to 18, 2011

    Guests: Abney Park

    Registration: Pre-Registration (3-day passes only):
    December 6, 2010 - January 31, 2011 — $45.
    February 1 – March 31, 2011 — $55.
    April 1 - May 31, 2011 - $65.
    June 1 - End of registration - $75.

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