What is Steampunk? Steampunk combines the old and the new.
“Steampunk is a bunch of stuff people do that’s vaguely inspired by mad science in a world that bears some sort of resemblance to the Victorian era,” says Jeff Mach, one of its leading proponents.
Steampunk is original. The “punk” in “Steampunk” comes from going against convention through creativity and the declaration of one’s individuality through costume, style, gadgets, or attitude.
Steampunk is creative. Many Steampunks take items of blandness, and transform them into wonderfully crafted items that maintain the original functionality, yet are adorned with rich woods and brass, dials and gauges.
So it should be pretty obvious that the Kootenay is an ideal location to host a Steampunk event.
“The resourcefulness, craftsmanship, and inventiveness of the people in this valley make it an ideal location,” says Donna Cormie, one of the co-founders of Kaslo Steampunk. This was the impetus for a handful of locals to set in motion something that may become an annual event.
Part of the inspiration for Kaslo Steampunk has been Cold River, Ont., which started a Steampunk festival seven years ago. The event took off and has since become an important tourist attraction. Just as important, the event has become an inspiration for socio-economic development in the area. “We see Kaslo Steampunk as an opportunity to experiment with a new type of tourist destination-event for the area,” said Cormie
In other parts of North America, Steampunk is associated with the Mini-Maker Fair system which is a cross between a science fair and craft fair. Mini-Maker fairs provide a venue for craftsmanship and inventiveness to surface that is often hidden in a community.
Cormie said future events will include a Mini-Maker Fair. “This valley is dripping with resourcefulness, people who tinker with things, incredibly talented people. We think they deserve a showcase — Kaslo Steampunk can provide that kind of platform.
“The Victorian era is heavily associated with the advent of the industrial revolution. Steam was what petroleum is for us today, the power source behind an explosion in human ingenuity. Steampunk is a wonderful metaphor for the re-invention our society and communities need.”
There will be two Kaslo Steampunk events, both appropriately enough on the Victoria Day long weekend, which is also the May Days weekend in Kaslo.
The first event is a variety show in the Langham Cultural Centre on Saturday evening. The event will feature accomplished local musicians, fire-eating, the Busking Poet and belly dancing, among other performers.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show kicking off at 7 p.m. and will wind-up around 9 p.m. There will be door prizes for audience members who come in costume.
The second event is a community-wide Quest Game that begins Sunday at 9 a.m. at the top of Front St. Quest Game is an immersive, experiential game designed to create fun learning experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds. The core of the game is to have people assume character roles, called archetypes and join the adventure of completing quests and attaining mastery of the archetypes. The game can be played for just a few hours or the entire day.
Jaeden Woodland, the game’s inventor, says “think treasure hunt, scavenger hunt, and some role playing thrown in. It’s great family fun, but people of all sorts really get into this game.”
Game cards will be available at the variety show on Saturday night, or you can get your cards on the morning of the event . Costumes are encouraged for participants but are not necessary. However there will be spot-prizes for costumes during the game.