Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Steampunk Unlimited at Strasburg Railroad

Written by Joe Ulrich, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Sep 4, 2014 2:40 PM

Steampunk1.jpg's a subculture that's a little hard to explain. It's a combination of the aesthetics and technology of the Victorian era, the future and even the Wild West. Thomas Willeford, owner of Brute Force Studios in Harrisburg and steampunk aficionado says, "It is an adventure in a speculative past." The culture involves costume and gadgetry, all of which is a combination of both the future and the past.

The word itself derives from a combination of the "cyberpunk", a sort of near-future era and also the "steam" in "steam power"; the new and the old. "Well what if you suddenly took all this weird technology and put it in the Victorian era," says Willeford, "What would they call it?" Steampunk.

Strangely, the word was coined in the 80's but sat dormant until sometime in the 2000's. With the help of the internet, the concept spread and people interested in it got connected. Now festivals are held that celebrate steampunk style. Like at the Strasburg Railroad.

"Strasburg Railroad is holding Steampunk Unlimited," says Steve Barrall, stationmaster at Strasburg Railroad. "Things [are] basically kicking off Friday evening with a train ride followed by a Victorian ball. And then a very long day Saturday with quite a few steampunk bands throughout the day, steampunk lectures, a lot of different dining options as well on the train. And then followed Sunday by our headlining band Abney Park."

Steampunk Unlimited takes place September 26-28 at the Strasburg Railroad.

Steampunk 15.jpg

Photo by Joe Ulrich

A mechanical arm made by Thomas Willeford of Brute Force Studios in Harrisburg.

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