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Big River Steampunk Festival

Saturday, Aug 31, 2019 at 10:00am

Various Location
Hannibal, MO 63401


Free Events:

Main Street Parade

Opening Ceremonies

The fun begins on Saturday, August 31st at 10:00am with the Big River Steampunk Main Street Parade and Opening Ceremonies!  The parade begins at North and N. Main streets, and will make its grand promenade down Main Street, featuring the amazing cast of characters that will appear at the weekend's festivities. If you're decked out in your Steampunk finery, please join the parade!

Immediately following the parade, the cortege of Queen Victoria will make its way to the Main Street Stage where Her Royal Highness and special appearances by dignitaries will signal the beginning of the festivities.

Full Immersion Cosplay

Step back in time and become a part of Living History at the Big River Steampunk Festival! With the backdrop of the historic 1840s-1890s buildings on Main Street, the Victorian mansions of Millionaires' Row, and the churning dark waters of the Mighty Mississippi, you can immerse yourself into your "Steam Persona" and live the life of Hannibal's 19th century Gilded Age.

Main Street Stage

The Big River Steampunk Festival will feature an exciting array of entertainment directly on Main Street, made pedestrian-only especially for the Festival!

Comedians, jugglers, exciting escape artists, rowdy pirates, singers, musicians, dancers and more will thrill and delight audiences of all ages!

Our Main Street Stage will also be the location of the daily Costume Contest Finals, the Facial Hair Contest, and other special events. Free and open to the public.

The Great Midway

Enjoy the sights and sounds of The Great Midway next to the Mississippi Riverfront!

Here you will find the Great Midway Merchants, along North Main and Hill Streets, where 50+ Steampunk vendors from around the country will entice you with costumes, accessories, hats & goggles, books, music, artworks, and much more. Delicious food and refreshing beverages will also be available. At the end of the Great Midway lies the Joy Pavilion, which will be filled with entertainment, contests, and more!

The Great Midway is free to all. Opens Friday at 5pm and regular hours are Sat & Sun 10am - 5pm, Monday 10am - 4pm. Some vendors may stay open even later each night!

Costume Contests

One of the most popular events of the Big River Steampunk Festival is the Costume Contest -- this year, contests will be held each of the three days of the Festival!

Contestants will "Walk the Red Carpet" to the preliminary round at Hill and N. Main Street stage starting daily at 10:45am. Twelve finalists will then gather on the Main Street Stage where the daily winner will be announced and awarded the coveted 2019 Big River Costume Contest Winner badge and $100 in Big River Fun Money!

The contest is FREE to all contestants and is open to everyone, join in on the fun!

Seminars and Workshops

Expand your cranial capacity through our series of scintillating topics and fascinating panels held in four locations:

- The Academy at Finn's: Seminars, workshops all weekend
-- The Bluff City Theater (Saturday only): Several talks
--- The Annex at Greater Days (Sunday only): Seminars and workshops
---- The Creative Exchange at Hannibal History Museum: Make-and-Take sessions for aspiring makers all weekend

Learn from airships, performers, and enthusiasts of how to thrive in our fun-loving steampunk dystopia!

The Airship Village


The 2019 Big River Steampunk Festival is proud to invite your group to pull into port at the Airship Village where we encourage all Airships to participate and fellowship with other like-minded Steampunk enthusiasts from around the universe!

Reserve your FREE space and set up a Docking Bay (tent or other pavilion) so that your Airship crew has a place to relax, meet up, regroup, party, and enjoy the festivities!

This is also a chance to showcase your best Steampunk decor by decorating your Docking Bay!  A special "Medal of Honor" will be issued to The Most Outstanding Airship crew members for those deemed to have the most imaginative, most creative, most amazing Steampunk Docking Bay -- bring your flags and banners, your gear-laden tent decorations, your most unique lounging chairs, your Steamiest beverage coolers, and show how Steampunkers really live and play!

Dieselpvnk Motorbikes?

A special simulator near Airship Village allows the feeling of driving a motorcycle without the risk (or high insurance payments!) involved. In addition, GRR Harley-Davidson will be curating a collection of restored cycles from what would be the dieselpunk era, as our Neo-vintage Academy encourages its attendees to explore all of the offshoots that have grown from the roots of steampunk.

Gaming Central Command at Java Jive, W/The Fantasy Shop, Brass Engine Games

St. Louis’ own Fantasy Shop chain will be demonstrating and allowing access to dozens of games on Saturday and Sunday, with open gaming hours at Java Jive (at 209 N. Main) running from 1:30-4:30pm. Brass Engine Games (from mid-Missouri) will later host a tournament of their Kickstarter funded steampunk strategy card game titled Thief’s Hand at 5pm-7pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Nerf Dueling

The Galesburg, Illinois R.U.S.T. Steampunk Society will again host the Big River Steampunk Festival Nerf Dueling Competition. In a recreation of a 19th century duel, contestants will use specially-designed Steampunk weapons repurposed from Nerf guns (spring-powered toys for children that, for some reason, adults also love to play with!). The soft, foam darts will render contestants eliminated yet in no way harmed.

For each duel, two duelists will stand back-to-back using the specially-crafted pistols. At the drop of a ladies handkerchief, they will advance seven paces, turn, and shoot. If an opponent is hit by a dart, he or she is eliminated. If both are hit, or if both miss, a rematch will commence. If still neither manage to hit their marks, or if both are hit, the match shall be decided by rock/paper/scissors (the only real way to solve such childish disputes).

Registration for participants is a $1.00 donation to the R.U.S.T. Society but there is no charge to spectators. Duel schedules will be made available in the 2019 Big River Steampunk Festival Compendium, available free of charge at the Festival.

Tea Dueling

In February, 2012, the American Society of Tea Dueling debuted this competitive sport at AnachroCon in Atlanta, Georgia, although Tea Dueling has been practiced in the United Kingdom for quite some time.

Tea dueling is the art of gracefully dunking a tea biscuit (known as a cookie in the United States) into a "Cup of Brown Joy", soaking it for five seconds, and then lifting it into one's mouth for a clean "Nom" (as in nom-nom-nom...!) -- all without dripping tea, losing biscuit fragments into the tea or on the table, and doing so after your fellow duelist.

The Big River Steampunk Tea Duel is FREE for both those who duel and those who witness,please plan to join us!

Parasol Dueling

Originally instigated by Maxwell MacDonald-Smythe (Kevin Jepson) and Madame Saffron (Jayne Barnard) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the sport of Parasol Dueling has found favor in the Steampunk community. A raucous battle of wits, in the same genre as Rock-Paper-Scissors, this no-contact contest requires patience, strategy, and just a teensy bit of skill. Those who participate will learn the art of the "Plant", the "Snub", and the "Twirl" in an effort to outfox their opponents. Full instructions will be given and numerous rounds will be held until one supreme parasol-welding champion is crowned!

The Mad Hatter's Party

The Mad Hatter’s (Tea?) Party – Yes, a ‘’tea” party without tea; think of a steampunk-themed hybrid of ‘musical chairs’ and Simon Says, where the rules and borders of the game can switch in a flash – as unpredictable as a Mad Hatter, of course! Check the official time schedule to see where this off-kilter game is played…

Photography Contest

The photo that best captures the spirit of the 2019 Big River Steampunk Festival will be deemed "Best In Show". The winning photographer will receive TWO VIP Passes to the 2020 Big River Steampunk Festival!

TinKerer's Tournament

Do you love to tinker and create? Are you a master at repurposing items into Neo-vintage Steampunk Gadgetry? If so, sign up for the Tinkerer's Tournament, a REAL-TIME construction competition on Saturday and Sunday!

Some Assembly Required – A competition among makers and visionaries, where contestants have 30 minutes to concoct a contraption from the assortment of industrial odds and ends laid before them. The item does not have to be functional, but one who can make a believable-looking artifact will go far in this competition. The winner will receive a coveted Big River winner's badge and $50 in Big River Fun Money!

Ride a Penny Farthing

Kids! Prof. Jefferson Parker's awe-inspiring Penny Farthing will again be at the Big River Steampunk Festival! See Prof. Parker ride throughout the Festival -- he will show you how to climb aboard and assist you on your journey. A sight to behold, and a great photo-op for your Cosplay experience!

Ballroom Dancing

Professor Jefferson Parker and his lovely wife Maddy Parker will dazzle and delight you with their Victorian Dancing prowess! Follow along and enjoy free Ballroom Dancing lessons from Prof. Parker on historic Main Street.

Premium Events

The Mentalist (with Dr. Judas), 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Mystic Tea, 2:00pm - 3:15pm

Jeckyl and Hijinx - An Interactive Comedic Experiment, 4:00pm - 5:00pm

The Mentalist (with Dr. Judas), 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Pre-Crimson Ball Dinner at The Star Theater, 5:30pm - 6:15pm

The Crimson Ball and Fashion Explosion (w/Sweetie & the Toothaches), 6:00pm - 8:40pm

Scoundrels and Shysters Cruise, 9:00pm - 10:30pm

Sensory Overload Burley-Q, 11:00pm - 12:30am

Click Here For Premium Event Ticket Information

This event listing provided for the Hannibal community events calendar. Community events are not associated with or sponsored by AARP, but may be of interest to you. If you have an event to share, let us know!

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