Jeff Mach‘s Steampunk World’s Fair is the world’s largest Steampunk event! Everyone is welcome, from the veteran Steampunker to the simply curious. Come an join us for a weekend of merriment, we’d love to meet you!
Out with the Old, in with the New
The Steampunk World’s Fair 2017 was a rousing success! We’d like to thank everyone who attended this year’s event. We’d love your feedback; please feel free to share it with us via our feedback form!
Next year’s event, Steampunk World’s Fair 2018, will be at the Radisson and Embassy Suites of Piscataway, New Jersey, May 4-6th, 2018. Hotel rooms are available at our popular overflow hotel and tickets are available now as well!
New and don’t know where to start?
No problem! First, we recommend reading about what the Steampunk World’s Fair is. Then, take a look at our Entertainment line-up and our Merchant roster to get an idea of the things you can expect to enjoy at our event. Our VIP & Add-on event listings are a good way to see all the extra, premium content we have to offer, too! Then, when you’re ready, take a look at our Buy Tickets page to join us at the next SPWF.
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It happens to almost everyone: Con Drop. The term is widespread enough in fandom circles are a few variations on its definition, but the core remains the same. Con drop is the physical, mental, and emotional you feel when you get home after spending the weekend at the festival, Faire, or convention.
Some of this is quite physical. People can find so many exciting things to do and be so full of adrenaline at a great event that they will put out tremendous exertion. Some of it also has to do with the fact that people will often find the festivities more exciting than munane things like food, hydration, and sleep. And that will catch up with you, no matter what your age or your level of stamina. But…
The core of con drop is going away from a world where you are accepted and loved, a place full of things fill you with passion, into a world that doesn’t value those things. A convention or festival is basically a place where the stories and worlds that matter, the stuff that helps pump blood and meaning into your body, are all concentrated in one place for one glorious time away from work and the distractions of the everyday.
And then it all vanishes and you get home and you have your real life.
That doesn’t happen to me. Do you know why?
It’s not because events are my life. They are; I do run events in order to earn my daily bread. But that’s not it. The thing is, there ain’t no such thing as real life.
Every day I get up in the morning, and the literature, the film, the ideas, the fans themselves, the discussion, the commentary… All those things are with me; maybe some of them are virtual via the Internet, maybe some of them exist as memories in my mind of joy and camaraderie; but those things are absolutely “real”, as much as my morning vat of coffee. They are all are a part of me. I am immersed in them. Conventions don’t need to be the only world that I perceive or understand; they don’t need to exclude me from the rest of life. That only happens to geeks in bad early 90s sitcoms. The truth is, we are absolutely able to be part of what most people think of as a normal reality….and still stay, inside, the same person who was just at that event, expressing a true inner self.
No matter what we are doing or what is going on, we always have the reality of the place we have been. There is always a bridge between where we are now, and the place which holds our hearts. We are never truly far from those homes, those conventions and festivals and fairs where we can truly be who and what we are
So the sadness of losing that thing? I never have that sadness. I never have that drop. I wake up the next after show, getting ready to do amazing things at the next one. This is my motto:
Sharks swim forever and if they stop swimming, they’re no longer alive. Fandom is forever, and it always helps me live. I don’t get con drop, because I never ever get con-stopped. As Tolkien wrote, “The Road goes ever, ever on.” Fandom is immortal and I am grateful to be a part of it.
very truly yours,
A bit of Steampunk/scifi poetry for you!
“Unplug That Particle Accelerator”
Unplug that particle accelerator, boy
I could pull the nether worlds out of your ear
I could teleport your ass from here to Tau Ceti with the toe
of my boot,
ya ether-suckin’ punk.
Listen here, kid
Smoke the last ray of an age-dead sun
Read the entrails of a protozoa
Catch for me tomorrow morning a dozen instants fresh from the
and then I will show you the alchemy
of movement from one world to the next
the knowledge that counts
between science and dream.
-by Jeff Mach
Of all the questions I get about Steampunk costuming, the most frequently asked is perhaps “Why do Steampunks wear goggles?”
This is particularly interesting because, of course, most Steampunks do not actually wear goggles. That is, they have goggles on their person…but the goggles are seldom on their faces. This is especially important because most of us have goggles that you cannot actually see through. Or if you can see through them, you simply see much worse than everything else. as you are probably peering through blurry plastic (or, if you’re fancy, blurry glass). Add to that the fact that the goggles are almost never actually protective nature, and you have what other people might consider to be totally useless. But as Seampunks, we know the truth:
These damn goggles are totally useless.
That’s actually the point.
Seriously, what are our popular images of people who have goggles, but don’t place them over their actual fields of vision? Cut to that clip in your mind of a scientist looking through goggles at some particular thing, then pushing them up on her for head and announcing a discovery. Picture the dashing World War I flying ace, coming out of an airplane with goggles strapped tightly around their neck. And think about all of those movies where top hats develop eyes and need goggles! Okay, that last one never happens. But that’s not the point right now.
The precise point of the goggles is that they aren’t intended to have a direct physical function. The goggles are signifiers of imagination. They remind us of all of the adventures and possibilities and inventions which might happen in an essentially limitless universe of storytelling. And that, in turn, reminds us that the real world is actually also an unlimited universe of storytelling. The lines between truth and fiction tend to blur when it comes to human consciousness, because we are at heart makers of tales and designers of new ideas.
So the reason why Steampunks bear goggles, particularly goggles that are not functional, and especially goggles which are never intended to be functional, is that the function is not to take on the role of normal eyeware in a normal world. Instead, they are, not costuming, but magnets to attract and fire new neurons in the brain–in the mind of whoever wears them, and in the mind of whomever sees them.
Steampunk is a continuous redefinition of reality as envisioned by the maximum potential of human thought… with a large dose of the ridiculous thrown in. That’s why we wear, and sing, and do, things which aren’t always practical or “realistic”–because the goal isn’t to do something we would normally envision; it’s to envision things that can access far beyond our definitions of “normalcy”.
Now, as the people behind the world’s largest Steampunk event, we could give you a whole lot of suggestions and ideas about what to do if you want to run a great event. We thought we would take it from the opposite direction this time, though. So here are a bunch of utterly horrible ideas.
Note: We do not suggest using these ideas. They are really bad. So without further adieu, let me present…
Ten Terrible Ideas For Running Steampunk Events!
10. One of the great innovations of Steampunk is that its events tend to feature more performance and interactivity then traditional conventions. For one thing, people really love Steampunk bands. So figure this… If having one Steampunk band on good, having five Steampunk bands on stage the same time has got to be five times as good, right? So our recommendation is that you schedule all the performances to be in the same place at the same time. You can even make it a contest… The loudest band wins! Plus, you’ll make a fortune selling earplugs.
9. Steampunks love tea! To make them feel truly at home, brew a nice Earl Grey in the bathtub of each hotel room.
8. You can never go wrong with scones. We recommend replacing your main performance space with a 7 ton truckload of scones. As a pro tip, try not to do this more than one week out from the festival, or the scones will become inedible. I mean, even more inedible than usual.
7. You should encourage your guests to socialize and meet each other. We recommend giving them all the wrong nametags. This way, they will spend the weekend talking to everyone else in a frantic attempt to find their own badges.
6. Actually, badges can get lost very easily. Be a courteous event organizer, and issue attendees with tattoos instead. It will take a little more time and money, but they won’t lose their badges!
5. If a mysterious blue police box appears in the center of your show, call the Daleks immediately.
4. Steampunks are time travelers, after all. Why not hold your event 100 years ago?
3. People love vendors. People love swimming pools and hotels. Why not put all your vendors into the swimming pool?
2. Give everyone a complementary magnum of absinthe. What could possibly go wrong?
1. Pave over the parking lot. REAL Steampunks obviously do not use cars. If they don’t have an airship, they should go somewhere else.
very truly yours,
Friends, we of The Steampunk World’s Fair believe that Halloween is eternal. So before we move on to the winter, we thought we’d give you just a bit more on how All Hallow’s Eve and Steampunk intertwine. This piece is brought to us by Professor Adam Smasher of the incredible Steampunk band “The Eternal Frontier“!
…then one should, at least, turn to The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, the British chaps who put the “Punk” into Steampunk.
Now, the goal here is something for both those who love the holidays, and those who hate them. Because I’m not making a value judgment here.
If you love the winter holidays, then you’ll probably be ruddy enchanted by Steampunk’s take on the tale of Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge of “A Christmas Carol”.
And if you hate the winter holidays, then you’ll be absolutely delighted by this play on that most classic of holiday tales.
“Oh, Ebenezer, you cunning old geezer!”
“Halloween: It combines the most perilous elements of bright moonlight, magic, and a massive sugar rush.”
Many people dress up in Steampunk garb for Halloween. It’s a favorite kind of costuming. In fact, the term “Steampunk” gets some of the most searches on this particular day of the year. But many people are unaware of the hidden perils!
Because certainly, it’s fun to do Steampunk things for a day. And it easy, too. Not easy in the sense that it requires no creativity or cannot be imaginative; just easy in the sense that it can be simple, and it doesn’t need to be a big deal, or anything elaborte. You don’t have to do something tremendously fancy or outrageous to be fantastic. You’re certainly welcome to do so, but it’s not a requirement.
But beware! Beware!
I have to warn you now. Steampunk is incredibly, unbelievably fun, welcoming, and accepting.
If you dress up in Steampunk garb for Halloween…
… You may decide to do it on other days of the year. It’s insidious that way. There’s just so much enjoyment, so much pleasure, so much freedom of self-expression, and just so much of a chance to do something out of the ordinary and spectacular and wonderful and glorious, even if it’s just putting some goggles on your hat and feeling jaunty as all get-out.
Be careful! If you go Steampunk on Halloween–
–you may decide that you really, really like it. And you may do it again.
“Then the Dean repeated the mantra that has had such a marked effect on the progress of knowledge throughout the ages.
“Why don’t we just mix up absolutely everything and see what happens?” he said.
And Ridcully responded with the traditional response.
“It’s got to be worth a try,” he said.”
― Terry Pratchett,
- Wear goggles. Sure, many of us do that every day. But goggles are still great!
- Wear a top hat. Because what situation isn’t improved by a top hat?
- Go around being cheerful and showering people with candy and treats.
- Decide to take on a character from another world, or possibly an alternate version of this world–or, if you want, don’t do that and just be yourself!
- Realize the amazing truth: When you do Steampunk, Halloween is eternal.