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Steampunk attire. Photo by Andrew Shanley.




Gate City Steampunk Festival

When: Saturday, Aug. 20, noon to 6 p.m.
Where: MakeIt Labs, 25 Crown St., Nashua
Cost: Free ($50 vendor registration fee)
Visit: gatecitysteampunk.com




Letting off steam
Alternate universes explored at steampunk fest

08/18/16
By Matt Ingersoll listings@hippopress.com



 For all Granite State steampunk enthusiasts or business owners specializing in themes of dystopian fantasy, the second annual Gate City Steampunk Festival is the place to be.

The free event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, at MakeIt Labs in Nashua. The mostly outdoor festival will feature dozens of clothing, craft and gift vendors, as well as a costume contest and live music, all to celebrate steampunk, said event organizer Ryan Glen Hirsch of Gate City Steampunk.
“Steampunk is a variety of things, but a lot of the stories with the theme take place in a Victorian or Wild West setting, almost like a retro future setting,” Hirsch said. “It can be a dystopian future where only steam power remains, or it can be an alternate universe where other uses of fuel never developed and steam became the primary use.”
Hirsch said steampunk’s fashion theme also draws heavily from both Victorian England and the 1850s American Wild West, as well as bronze and brass gadgetry made from steam power.
As many as 40 local vendors whose designs favor or feature the steampunk style are expected to appear at this year’s festival, Hirsch said. Visitors will also get an opportunity to craft their own steampunk gear at the “Put a Gear in It” steampunk crafting station.
“We’re looking to invite as many people down as possible, including people who are part of the steampunk meetups in New England,” he said.
The Boston Sprockettes will also be holding a midway, featuring several games and contests with prizes. People are also encouraged to dress up in their favorite steampunk outfits for a costume contest.
“This is going to be a very interactive event,” Hirsch said. “It’ll also be a fun place for people to come down and have a steampunk-themed picnic and interact with other steampunk enthusiasts.”
The Providence, R.I.-based synthpop industrial rock group Platform One, a band Hirsch said is known for playing at several different steampunk, goth and anime conventions across New England, will be performing a headlining set near the end of Saturday’s festival.
Hirsch said last year’s event was held at the Nashua Public Library alongside the library’s own comic book convention and raised money for MakeIt Labs to help it open its new location. The makerspace and nonprofit officially opened its doors in 2010 as New Hampshire’s first community workshop and offers everything from classes in laser cutting and machining to 3-D printing and welding. It relocated to 25 Crown St. last February and now holds open houses every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.
Another new feature will involve making figurines of people using a 3-D scanner from MakeIt Labs. 
“It takes about seven days or so to complete, but we had two models test it and it came out great,” Hirsch said. “It’s just one of the other cool things we’ve figured out how to do since trying to set up this festival.”
There is a $50 vendor fee for business owners interested in reserving a space at the festival. Hirsch said he will accept vendors through Aug. 19, the day before the event, and registration forms can be filled out at gatecitysteampunk.com. 





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