Gallery at the VAULT holds Steampunk Q & A

Kimberly Plourde expounds on Steampunk. Photo by Karen Engdahl

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – On Sept. 9, three members of the Steampunk Society of Vermont in full Steampunk regalia presented a wide-ranging Q & A session at the VAULT Gallery. Their attire might have been frivolous, but the information provided was clear and informative.

Why did the Steampunk Festival start in Springfield?

“The Steampunk Festival was started as a way to promote Springfield. We wanted to find something that would bring people here, something positive and playful and attractive to a wide audience. One of the big motifs of the Steampunk movement is the gear—and the old gear factories here sounded just the right note,” said Kimberly Plourde, vice president and secretary of the Steampunk Society.

How has the Springfield community gotten involved in the Festival?

President of the society, Robyn Priebe, said, ”Since the beginning of the festival three years ago, community groups have gone from not understanding Steampunk to becoming very involved – the gaming room [Dark Mountain Games] sponsors special Steampunk events, the Art Gym is having Steampunk jewelry making and zentangle events, the library has Steampunk-themed programs, and the VAULT is featuring lots of Steampunk jewelry and other items. Plus many community members attend the festival and participate in activities there.”

What’s the Festival all about?

“Steampunk can be considered a sub-genre of science fiction,” said Plourde, “but it also contains elements of art, literature, costuming – almost anything you can think of. If you have a creative idea, you can probably fit it into Steampunk. The festival offers people chances to join fashion shows, participate in workshops, and even learn circus skills. There’s literally something for everyone.”

What’s new in the festival this year?

VAULT volunteer John Hughes and a collection of Steampunk jewelry. Photo by Karen Engdahl

“We’re really excited to have the New England Center for the Circus Arts involved this year,” said Priebe. “Our theme is Circus Spectacular and they will be bringing all kinds of circus acts; a group called KarnEvil will be presenting side show type acts like flame swallowing. Also new this year will be Tea Dunking, a fun game involving tea and cookies, and teapot racing, using remote-controlled toy cars refitted as motorized teapots.”

Is the festival family-friendly?

“This year we’re offering a lot of activities for kids,” said Priebe. “We’ll have arts and crafts, a hula hoop artist, and a Saber Academy instructor offering light saber combat workshops. Kids are welcome to join the fashion show, too!”

Eager to embrace Steampunk? The VAULT gallery is featuring Steampunk-themed jewelry, hats, and decor items for purchase. It’s not too late to register to attend the Steampunk Festival, which will be held at the Hartness House Inn on Sept. 23 and 24. For more information, visit the festival website

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