Travel

Historic New England Town Goes Steampunk for One May Weekend

Thursday May 3, 2012
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Waltham MA- The City nicknamed Watch City gets a science-fiction makeover! For one weekend in May (May 11, 12, 13), the historic city of Waltham, Massachusetts transforms itself into a city Jules Verne and H.G. Welles could only have dreamed of, when the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation in Waltham, presents the Watch City Festival: Waltham the Original Steampunk City.

Part Ringling Brothers meets the Industrial Revolution, and part Tim Burton movie set, the festival, benefiting the non-profit Charles River Museum, encompasses the entire downtown, with over 1500 hours of Steampunk entertainment planned. It’s an event unlike any other festival in the US, where the only limit is your imagination.

What is Steampunk? It’s the hottest design and lifestyle trend to emerge in decades. It asks, "What would the world look like if modern technology were available at the turn of the twentieth century when steam was king, corsets were mandatory and man was just learning fly." What started as an underground style movement by technology geeks and science-fiction fanatics has entered the mainstream, influencing art, fashion, interior design, literature and entertainment.

From the moment you purchase your festival button ($20 per adult, $10 for a child), you enter a real Steampunk city. The fun kicks off on Friday evening May 11, for the newly elected Mayor of Steampunk City’s inaugural Ball. The opening event hosted at the Watch City Brewery, at 6:30 PM, features the music of two bands and an author signing as well and special Character appearances. Highlights of the weekend include hot air balloon rides, a New Orleans style parade, a Civil War re-enactment, and a lecture by acclaimed Jules Vern historian, Jean Christophe Valtat, (flown in from France for this very special weekend), high wheel bicycle rides, four live stages and over 15 participating venues to experiences.

Looking explore Steampunk City, Watch City Festival, the festival offers a tours, an out and about photography Class and Free Trolley Shuttle that will move you around this great event. For those that like to learn, the festival features a wide array of classes form Women’s Rights in the Victorian Era to Electronic for Minions.

Great for all ages, this festival has not forgotten the little ones and teens. Younger steampunk may visit Children’s Steampunk Station, to creative craft, meet Queen Clara and hear her story of how she became queen of this unique steampunk City. They may enjoy puppet shows and magicians, and more. Teens won’t want to miss, Monster Defense 101, Steampunk Trivia Time at the Uppercrust Pizza, or the opportunity to meet one of the nations hottest teen writers MT Anderson.

Side show acts include storytellers, belly dancers, scholarly lectures, workshop, theatrical experiences and panels, blacksmith demonstrations, magicians, film screenings, train rides and much, much more.

Part Ringling Brothers meets the Industrial Revolution, and part Tim Burton movie set, the festival, benefiting the non-profit Charles River Museum, encompasses the entire downtown, with over 1500 hours of Steampunk entertainment planned.

Saturday May 12, the festival continues into the late evening with an incredible light show featuring a smokestack climbing mermaid, a by the Boston Baby Dolls show & Techno Contra Dance Party (10.00 admission with a Festival button, 15.00 without a button), a steampunk pub-crawl and live steampunk bands in many area bars.

The city of Waltham is the perfect location for this event. "I can think of no other city in the country that so successfully blends the Victorian past with modern technology, which is what Steampunk is all about," comments Cherry Carlisle. "It is a city steeped in the industrial past while corporations citywide are creating the technology of the future."

The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation is also the perfect partner for this festival. The museum itself is located in an old textile mill on the scenic banks of the Charles River that once housed the Boston Manufacturing Company. The Museum has worked closely with local community organizations to make this one of the most unusual and enjoyable festivals in New England. "It is truly a full weekend with something to do and enjoy for very little or no money as many events are free," says Museum Executive Director Elln Hagney.

The Waltham Courtyard Marriott, the Holiday Inn Express and the Hilton Garden Inn have partnered to offer visitors discounted rates and special Steampunk events throughout the weekend.

Footage for last years festival: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghVVvRW85o0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KL1y3ESemmQ

To make reservations or purchase pass, visit:http://www.watchcityfestival.com, email steampunkcity@crmi.org, or call 781-893-5410.

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