Fes­ti­val fans all a­quiver over steam­punk

Otago Daily Times - - FRONT PAGE - DANIEL BIRCHFIELD daniel.birchfield@odt.co.nz

Christchurch woman Sh­eryl Thorn got into the spirit of the ninth an­nual Steam­punk NZ Fes­ti­val at Queen’s Birth­day Week­end.

Steam­punk fans from around New Zealand as well as Aus­tralia, the United States and United King­dom gath­ered for the fes­ti­val in Oa­maru, which fea­tures de­signs in­spired by sci­fi and 19th­cen­tury steam­pow­ered ma­chin­ery.

The pop­u­lar Fire and Steam street event, fea­tur­ing stalls and street en­ter­tain­ers, was held on Fri­day night.

On Satur­day morn­ing a cos­tume pa­rade was held, fea­tur­ing mu­sic, Mor­ris danc­ing and fu­tur­is­tic weaponry.

STEAM­PUNK took over Oa­maru at Queen’s Birth­day Week­end, as the largest event in the south­ern hemi­sphere cel­e­brat­ing the genre trans­formed the town into a steam­punk play­ground.

Steam­punk fans from around New Zealand and as far afield as Aus­tralia, the United States and the United King­dom gath­ered in Oa­maru for the ninth an­nual Steam­punk NZ Fes­ti­val, which cel­e­brates the sub­genre of sci­ence fic­tion or sci­ence fan­tasy that in­cor­po­rates tech­nol­ogy and aes­thetic de­signs in­spired by 19th­cen­tury steam­pow­ered in­dus­trial ma­chin­ery.

Fes­ti­val co­or­di­na­tor He­len Jansen said the fes­ti­val had been ‘‘ab­so­lutely spec­tac­u­lar’’.

‘‘There’s in­cred­i­ble num­bers of peo­ple in town. The events . . . have been ab­so­lutely out­stand­ing. I couldn’t have wished for bet­ter.’’

Af­ter sev­eral smaller events on Thurs­day and Fri­day morn­ing, the Steam­punk NZ Fes­ti­val got into gear on Fri­day night with Oa­maru Fire and Steam in Har­bour St fol­lowed by a vaude­ville­style steam­punk show at the Loan and Merc.

On Satur­day morn­ing, hun­dreds of steam­punk fans in an ar­ray of styled cos­tumes took part in a pa­rade along Har­bour St, watched by an en­thu­si­as­tic crowd.

Steam­punk­in­spired Mor­ris dancers, a pipe band and steam­punk fans armed with weapons rang­ing from ray guns to bows brought the street to life as they marched be­fore en­joy­ing a get­to­gether at Oa­maru Har­bour, where keen on­look­ers took the op­por­tu­nity to shoot pho­tos.

World Cham­pi­onship Teapot Rac­ing, held at the Oa­maru Club, was the main at­trac­tion on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

More than 30 peo­ple en­tered their steam­punk­styled teapots, mounted on re­mote­con­trolled car chas­sis, into the cham­pi­onships.

Driv­ers were re­quired to nav­i­gate their teapots over, through and around sev­eral ob­sta­cles in the timed race.

Sim­i­lar races were held yes­ter­day morn­ing in Har­bour St, this time out­doors as part of the first Awe­some Mon­ster­pot Rac­ing World Cham­pi­onships, which again re­quired ma­noeu­vre­ing around or over sev­eral ob­sta­cles.

The al­ways pop­u­lar mess din­ner and airship rac­ing took over the Loan and Merc on Satur­day night.

Work­shops were sand­wiched be­tween the ma­jor events as were other ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing the steam­punk mar­ket, pre­miere of an­i­mated steam­punk short film Della Mor­tika: Carousel of Shame and the steam­punk magic show.

The fes­ti­val con­cluded with a gala ball last night.

Plan­ning was un­der way for the fes­ti­val’s 10th an­niver­sary next year and Mrs Jansen said peo­ple could ex­pect it to be ‘‘big­ger, bolder and faster’’.



Back to the fu­ture . . . Steam­punk en­thu­si­asts pa­rade down Har­bour St on Satur­day as part of the Steam­punk NZ Fes­ti­val held in Oa­maru over the week­end.


Boil­ing point . . . Ashyr Lane (10), of Christchurch, races his teapot ‘‘Wings of Fire’’ dur­ing teapot rac­ing, part of the Steam­punk NZ Fes­ti­val, at the Oa­maru Club on Satur­day.

Cody (8) and Zoe (6) For­tune, of Wyn­d­ham.

Alan Ire­land, of Alexan­dra.

Pete Dixon and Pur­ple Tay­lor, of Oa­maru.

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