The Victorians -- despite their tendency to straitjacket themselves into whalebone corsets, waistcoats, petticoats, fancy hats and stiffly starched, high-collared blouses -- perversely also loved to commune with nature in all its glory, high and low. It's perfectly natural, then, for the Colorado Steampunks to lend their presence to the Denver County Fair, dressed to the nines amidst the rabbits and goats and garden contests and carnival rides and freak shows.
The group will mainly be stationed in the fair's Welcome Pavilion (as will Westword, BTW, and the Kenny Be seed-packet art exhibit), where they'll greet the public in costume and display the relics of their neo-Victorian world, but they'll also have a gloved hand in putting on the mustache and pie-eating contests (and maybe a rumored pig-catching competition, as well). Top on their list, though, will be the Great Steampunk Picnic Auction, which honors the grand Victorian tradition of picnicking in the park.
"It was a tradition in the Victorian era to auction off a special person, usually an unmarried woman, along with a packed picnic basket and the right to share it with her," says Colorado Steampunk member Kronda Siebert. People bidding for the baskets, she adds, will have the chance to dine at the fair's indoor gazebo area with a fully costumed steampunk-in-character. Proceeds will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
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The steampunks will also be broadcasting radio episodes of S.T.E.A.M. (The Spectacular Tales of the Extraordinary Airship Mórríghan) live in the Freak Show hall and hosting talks on such subjects as Steampunk Fashion. "We just want to get the idea of steampunk out to people who don't know what it is," Siebert notes. "Since we try to keep traditions of one hundred years ago alive, the county fair is right up our alley. Come be a part of history, and that's all!"
For a complete schedule of fair events taking place July 28 through 31 at the Denver County Fair, check the website.