Steampunk World’s Fair 2012 – A Look Back At A Look Back

(Photographs by Heather Marino-Stotland)

This weekend Piscataway, NJ saw a veritable invasion of weirdly-dressed people who didn’t seem to be quite sure what  year it was, or what century for that matter. This weekend Piscataway, NJ hosted the third annual Steampunk World’s Fair.

The convention festival (according to the website) was fairly massive, completely taking over one hotel, spilling over into another and the parking lot between them. They had dealers set up in hotel rooms so a person would walk down the halls and go into them like little shops. There was even an outdoor midway set up to look like a carnival with bands and sideshows.



The panels and musical performances ran constantly well into the night. We managed to catch a few including one on 19th century anarchists that, fittingly, was, well, anarchy and a fascinating lecture on female scientists in the Victorian era. The best panel we saw, however, had to be the one about forgotten Victorian inventions. Holy shit, they came up with some truly terrible and ridiculous ideas, but some were kind of amazing and years ahead of their time.

The show was was great, with the exception of some logistical problems (that may have been the hotel’s fault, or may have been poor communication, or both) that really needed handling. There was no reason why the panel rooms were as small as they were. My living room is bigger, and my apartment isn’t particularly large. Also, when the air conditioners crapped out after the first day, why weren’t they fixed? My wife/this site’s photographer passed out during two different panels due to the stifling heat.

The hotel rooms-as-shops concept is a bit of double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s charming and it allows the vendors to just lock the door, securing their products at the end of the night. On the other, both the rooms and the hall get crowded quickly and if there’s more than two people looking in a room then no one else will go in, leading to lost sales. I don’t know how I feel about it really, especially as someone who’s sold at cons before.

But really, despite those problems Steampunk World’s Fair was a blast (make your own pun if you want). The costumes were fantastic, we brought home some really cool stuff, we saw some friends that we expected to see and some we didn’t. If you can go next year, I’d definitely recommend it.

I just really hope next year, there’s some damn air conditioning. Seriously, the guys are all in suits and the women already can’t breathe because of the corsets.

And of course, what would convention festival coverage be without costume pictures? As usual, click for hugeness.



Those wings looked amazing in person.


I have absolutely no idea what she was supposed to be, but she looked awesome.


There were so many steamified versions of comic book and movie characters. Here’s just a few.

Girl Cap

SP Baroness

Sadly, there was no Steampunk Destro to accompany Steampunk Baroness.

SP 4th

Hilariously drunken Steampunk Fourth Doctor was, of course, hilarious.

SP Hello Kitty

Steampunk Hello Kitty collecting donations for a heart transplant.


But it was Batman villains that ruled the weekend.

SP Joker Harley

SP Harley Catwoman

SP Ivy

I love her Poison Ivy costume so much. The attention to detail is amazing, from the pattern of the fabric to the leaf trim. So well done.

Back to not-comic costumes for a minute…


She is fully prepared to fix anything.


That bird’s head turned, its wings flapped and it squawked. No shit, it was horrifying.


Just know, now and forever, that Steampunk Baby is judging you. and she’s disappointed in every decision you’ve ever made.

If you want to see more pictures, including the shots from the Mad Science Fair, head over to our Flickr page.

Skott Stotland is a thousand monkeys in a man suit. He has been writing for the internet for over a decade.

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