HANNIBAL - Seminars, contests and opportunities to build a time machine or another unique Steampunk item are underway along Hannibal's historic North Main Street at the sixth annual Big River Steampunk Festival.
General admission and many events are free at this sixth annual Labor Day festival, produced by Ken and Lisa Marks, founders of the Hannibal History Museum. The festival began Friday and will continue through Monday.
Details about events and the schedule of events, both free and premium, are available in the steampunk booklets at the museum, booths and local businesses, or online at bigriversteampunkfestival.com.
Saturday's schedule will begin with a 10 a.m. parade of steampunkers, followed by Queen Victoria and other dignitaries leading opening ceremonies.
The Great Midway will have more than 50 steampunk merchants from around the country offering items to help people relive the days of steamboats, steam trains and the Victorian era. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.
Along Main Street, comedians, jugglers, escape artists, pirates, singers, musicians, dancers and more will offer free entertainment for people of all ages.
At 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday an underwater escape will be performed, along with events including a dueling and tinkerers' tournament.
Steampunkers may compete in free costume contests both Saturday and Sunday by wearing different outfits. The preliminary contests will be from 10:45 a.m. to noon at Hill and Main streets, with the 12 finalists each day competing at 12:30 p.m. at the Main Street Stage.
The facial hair contest will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Main Street Stage. Registration is required, with sign-up cards available at 10 a.m. Sunday at the steampunk information booth on Main Street.
One new event will be the free Some Assembly Required contests Saturday and Sunday at the Hannibal History Museum. The object will be to build steampunk items within a half hour, with parts and tools supplied by the festival. A photography contest will be judged later, after three finalists are chosen from photos taken each day through Monday. Entries must be received no later than midnight Monday. Of these nine finalists, the "Best in Show" will be chosen and announced on the Big River Steampunk Festival Facebook page. The Hannibal History Museum Foundation will retain the right to use the winning photos to promote future Big River Steampunk Festivals.