Gananoque Steampunk online attracts attendees from all over

The Goat Steppers Parade Band was one of the featured performers at the virtual 2020 Gananoque SteamPunk Festival held on ZOOM.

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In a truly Wellsian twist, the Gananoque’s Steampunk Festival took to cyberspace, bringing all the joy and festivity of the pseudo-Victorian technological age to town without anyone having to leave the comfort and safety of their personal bunkers.

“Steampunk is a special time, a time when fantastic creatures and fantastic people roam our town,” Pam Hudson, co-organizer of the event, said.

People logged in via Zoom or followed on Facebook live as the evening unfolded. Some tuning in from all over Canada and parts of the United States, they sang, danced, and participated fully while dressed in the most appropriate costumes for the occasion.

Things were officially started when Town Crier Brian Mabee he addressed all participants and introduced them to an evening of fun and enchantment.

“In 2019, our little town hosted a big event and we were so excited to have everyone this year,” he said. “We are not able to have you here in person, but the spirit of steampunk will not die with our zoom presentation for your enjoyment. It is great to see all that have dressed in your finery or even in your PJs.”

On the schedule for all to enjoy were Doug Gifford of Jazz Age Jazz, storyteller Professor Taelstrom, magician Christina Kaya, and the Goat Steppers Parade Band.

Gifford’s music included numbers such as “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime”, while Professor Taelstrom appeared from Montreal and regaled the audience with two pieces – “The Devil and the Shoemaker” and a ghost story, “The Man with No Story”. Christina Kaya’s magic was up close and personal, an interesting trick using technology to wipe away the distance, and the event closed out with several numbers played by the Goat Steppers.

“These are troubled times,” Mabee said. “But the power of Steampunk will not be stopped. Since we are having to wear masks to safeguard the transmission of the Coronavirus, we had a mask making contest this year.  The entries were many and glorious, but our final winner is R.T. Lundgren for his outstanding creation.

“It takes many people to put on any event and they are your neighbors or businesspeople – please support these individuals who support the Gananoque Steam Punk Festival. We thank all the sponsors for the day’s events and give our most heartfelt thanks to the organizing committee – my hat is off to them.”

Steampunk has climbed back into the machine and, with a whirring of gears and ringing of bells, returned into the fantastical past from which it emerged. However, it fully intends to return in 2021, hopefully filling the streets once more with the sights and sounds of an imaginary 19th-century industrial steam-powered era where fashion is a mixture of the Victorian era’s romantic view of science in literature combined with elements from the industrial revolution in Europe during the 1800s.

“It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to come into your life virtually with the 2020 Gananoque Steampunk festival,” Mabee said. “Our hope is to have you all back to our fine town of Gananoque to enjoy in person our Mad Professors Playground in 2021 with outdoor activities – weather permitting and we hope with grace of the Royal Theatre in the use of their fine facility to entertain you in person. Please help us see you here next year by helping our governments contain the spread of COVID 19 by safeguarding you and your family, friends and colleagues so we can be in person next year. Stay healthy safe.”

The event can be enjoyed again by going to the Steampunk Festival Facebook page at facebook.com/gansteampunk/.

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