Hannibal's first Big River Steampunk Festival on Aug. 30 and 31 attracted costumed people from a wide area in Missouri, Illinois and elsewhere.
Hannibal’s first Big River Steampunk Festival on Aug. 30 and 31 attracted costumed people from a wide area in Missouri, Illinois and elsewhere.
The sponsoring Hannibal History Museum brought entertainers from Florida and other states, highlighted by Dr. Robere DeGraf’s Touring Airship Magic Extravaganza, aka Mark Pettey of Naples, Fla.
When not entertaining on stage or along North Main Street, he and his wife, “Capt. Jane Starling,” aka Trudi Storr, were mingling with local people.
One man attracting attention was “Jefferson Parker” aka Bryon Robles of Wichita, Kan., on his big wheel bicycle.
The “fire performers” were Kristin Gosnell and Josh Kainz of Quincy, Ill., who explained his costume included an authentic gas mask from World War II.
One special guest was “Queen Victoria” aka Kirsten Dewey of Hannibal, accompanied by “J. Moose Berwinkle” (Jim Dewey). The queen presided at a Victorian Tea on Saturday afternoon at the Dubach Inn. On Saturday evening, both the Deweys were in the Big River Vaudeville Review. (See related article).
Another Saturday evening event was dependant on clear skies, and Mother Nature cooperated to allow hot air balloon rides at Nipper Park.
Many people from the Hannibal and Quincy, Ill., area exhibited their creativity by putting together complicated Victorian costumes that required explanation.
Several in the costume contest on Saturday came from the St. Louis area.
Steampunk festivals feature Victorian attire mixed with imagination, and the costume contest proved this.
Winner of the contest – as well as Best of Show - was Erica Rupp of Hamilton, Ill., whose costume included several layers of skirts and a plaid umbrella. She spent two days putting it together.
Mark Lockett of Quincy won the men’s costume contest as a British explorer and bontanist. His outfit included a variety of weapons and items he might use in his travels.
The children’s contest was won by Katie Moyers of Maywood, who was riding her bike. While waiting for the judging, she was using her old-fashioned “gun” to blow bubbles at her brother, James, who also competed.
Several women wore leather corsets, along with layers of heavy skirts and jackets, despite the hot temperature that had the audience wishing for shade during the noon Saturday contest.
One contestant was a mother and baby in matching attire. Melanie Terry of St. Louis was carrying her daughter, Gracelyn.
Among those competing from the St. Louis area was “Madam Belladonna,” aka Dr. Chris McInturff of O’Fallon. This was her first Steampunk and she was enjoying herself, wearing a black shawl.
Erin Howat of O’Fallon said she was an aeronaut, as she carried her jet pack.
From Centralia, Mo., Grace Lochrie was a pink-haired robot, accompanied by her friend, Mekenzie Prange.
Rita Dartt of Danville, Ill., said she was “Becka Gardingham” of Gardingham Estates.
Some men also had to explain their attire.
Benjamin Allen of Hannibal was an “ecio auditore,” a “mercenary for hire” in his red outfit that included a shotgun.
A father and son from New London were competing. Brook Kurth was “Jack B. Nimble,” a mechanic on an airship, carrying a huge wrench. His son, James, a Hannibal-LaGrange University student, was also in costume.
Ralph and Diane Thomason of Bismarck, Ill., were dressed as Hannibal Pirates.
Also competing were Hannibal sisters Haley Allensworth and Sena Carroz.
No prize was awarded for most unusual, but Kent and Cyndi Taylor of Hannibal arrived as a horse (Kent) pulling a cart carrying Cyndi.
At the conclusion of the costume contest, a moustache contest began, with men showing off their unique styles.
The winner, Daniel Wiggins of Center, Mo., had a moustache that curled.
Another contest Saturday was Big River Steampunk Art Competition. (See related article).
On both Saturday and Sunday the Steampunk Festival included seminars, as well as entertainment acts.
On Sunday, Gretchen Gerfen of St. Charles arrived at the “Great Midway” (North Main and Bird streets parking lot) in time for some events. Her 12-year-old daughter, Harper, enjoyed hearing “Mark Twain” (Jim Waddell of Hannibal) talk about steamboats in days gone by.
For more pictures, see photo gallery on hannibal.net.