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The lowdown on Steampunk


For the third year in a row, downtown Honesdale will play host to the Steampunk Festival this weekend. The festival along Main Street has grown each year, and organizers say this one could bring thousands to the area. Here’s what to expect.

What is Steampunk?

Steampunk is a genre of science fiction that features industrial, steam-powered technology, with fashion and design elements that take on a Victorian aesthetic.

“Steampunk works often take place in alternative history worlds where steam-powered technology is extremely prominent,” according to the steampunkheaven.net. “Typically, the technology and aesthetic shown are nearly as advanced as the technology we have in our modern world but with a distinctly retro look and feel.”

So, we’re not necessarily talking iPads in the Victorian age. More like hyper-advanced mechanics, trains, airships and analog computers.

Why Honesdale?

“We’ve been part of the Industrial Revolution since day one,” said Lisa Burns, with the Greater Honesdale Partnership, which is organizing the festival, with support from the Dime Bank and the Honesdale Greenhouse Flower Shop.

Honesdale was the sight of the first steam locomotive to run on a gravity railroad. It was also, as Burns pointed out, home to many factories, including the first elevator factory. All of that makes Honesdale, organizers say, the perfect location for an industrial-themed event.

“Our history is very important to us,” Burns said, “so we want to maintain that history [while] still moving forward.”

What can you expect this weekend?

“We have something going on for absolutely everyone,” Burns said. “We have the train rides and theaters and the ring of fire and roving entertainment throughout the weekend. The vendors are Steampunk and are selling Steampunk [merchandise].”

Here’s the full schedule:

  • The River Reporter will offer Victorian-era photos, taken and developed on the scene at its booth on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, until supplies run out.
  • The Stourbridge Line will run September 13 through 15 with Railes & Ales, Big Sky TRAIN-IN Movie Theatre, Speeders and Ring of Fire. More information can be found at www.stourbridgeline.net. On Sunday, September 14, you can stop at the station at 12 noon for a short trip in a restored speeder (a go-cart on rails, essentially).
  • Two women will take each other on in a “tea duel” at the Honesdale Greenhouse from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Organizers advise arriving 30 minutes early if you’d like to participate.
    The Historical Society Museum will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
  • The Old Stone Jail, built circa 1859, will open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days.
  • Second Saturday will be ongoing throughout the day, and more information on those art galleries can be found at the event’s Facebook page.
  • Sunday, September 15: WDNH Discovered Live Music lineup
    2 p.m. - Gabby Borges Music (alternative/rock/folk) Hawley, PA
    3 p.m. - Jay Luke (alternative rock) Throop, PA
    4 p.m. - Family Animals (eccentric/psychedelic rock) Scranton, PA
    5 p.m. - Owen Walsh (singer/guitarist/songwriter) Honesdale, PA
    6 p.m. - Kluster Phunk - acoustic set (reggae/funk) Wilkes-Barre, PA


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