ATTLEBORO — From the Ezekiel Bates Masonic Lodge to the Park Street Ale House & Brewery, more than 2,000 patrons in their best steampunk wear could be seen out and about the city during the third annual Jewelry City Steampunk Festival on Saturday.
Steampunk, described as Victorian-era aesthetics with that era’s vision of what steam-powered mechanics would look like in the future, lent itself to an array of elaborate garb — not “costumes,” participants said — as well as handmade objects of intricate design.
Attached to the garb of Hubbardston resident Russell Hannula, known among his peers as “The Baron of Blueberry Hill,” was Reginald Ignatus Servo, a manual puppet created from repurposed objects such as a teacup, drawer handles and a mini-gumball machine for a head.
Hannula loved the versatility of steampunk and the freedom it gave him as an artist to create his other works of art.
“You can be really intricate with (steampunk artistry),” Hannula said. “It fits my meticulous nature as an artist.”
Such artistry and expression extended to the unique design and styling of the Victorian outfit on every patron, from handcrafted hoop skirts to feathered hats and corsets in dozens of colorful patterns.
Festival director Heather Rockwood described her love for steampunk as “make-believe for adults,” and was proud to bring the educational aspect of the event to the city.
“It fills a need, as far as interesting, different programming in Attleboro,” she said. “With the collaboration between all the venues and programming, it really fills this niche of interesting programs and getting everyone involved.”
Mort Aod, the vendor coordinator for the festival, concurred.
“It tells people something is happening in the downtown area,” Aod said. “We are giving entertainers a place to do what they’re passionate about, and we’re doing everything we can do educate our community.”
Within the lodge, there were 39 vendors catering to the patrons with a variety of clothing, accessories and jewelry and dozens of activities across the city in the Industrial Museum, Balfour Parkway and library.
Among the activities were a storytelling mermaid, a jewelry-making workshop, demonstrations of Houdini’s escape methods by J.R. Whitcomb of New Jersey, and one-on-one dramatization by Tiny Box Theater.
Accessibility to these events got a boost from a trolley from Rockstar Limo sponsored by Attleboro Jewelers.
Many festival patrons were grateful for this new addition to the event.
“I think it’s a wonderful addition,” said Cheryl Sulyma-Masson of Rehoboth. “Wherever you park, you can get here, and it’s a lot less stressful.”
The Attleboro Cultural Council, the Attleboro Historic Preservation Society, and Attleboro Jewelers were among the list of the festival’s sponsors.