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Arts & Culture

Gaslight Steampunk Expo Returns In Person

Jerry Abuan
Attendees at the 2019 Gaslight Steampunk Expo engage in some craftmaking.

Event features panels, costumes, teapot racing

Thursday, Gaslight Steampunk Expo returns to an in-person convention at the Mission Valley Marriott Hotel.

Steampunk, in case you are not familiar, is a literary and aesthetic movement that takes inspiration from Victorian science fiction. Think H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, explained Anastasia Hunter, chair and director of programming for Gaslight Steampunk Expo.

Gaslight Steampunk Expo Returns In Person
Listen to this story by Beth Accomando.

"In the time period, 'steampunk' as a word didn't exist. They wrote what were called scientific romances," she said. "Steampunk is really a sub-genre of science fiction."

Jerry Abuan
One Gaslight Steampunk Expo attendee displays an elaborate costume at the 2019 Expo.

The Expo allows fans of steampunk to gather in their most elaborate costumes and then enjoy music, panels, workshops, and unique competitions.

"For example, teapot racing," Hunter said. "On Saturday, you would get a radio controlled car that has to fit certain specific lengths and heights, and we have an obstacle course and it's whoever has the best time (wins). Two of our judges who have long been with us make it a very spectator sport, so even if you're not competing, just to listen to them describe how the racing is going is entertaining. They also host Tea Dueling, which is the only sport where you're guaranteed a cup of tea and a biscuit for every participant."

Hunter added that everyone — even first timers without costumes — are welcome. There is even a special section on the website for first-timers.


With a return to an in-person convention Hunter is particularly excited about Saturday’s swap meet.

"So if you have things that you do not want to have in your closet anymore because they need to go on to someone else, this is your opportunity for the entire community to come swap, trade, barter, buy, sell, for a couple hours on Saturday morning," Hunter added. "It's a great place for you to get started in getting your own steampunk ensemble put together for the future."

Gaslight Steampunk Expo runs Thursday through Sunday at the Mission Valley Marriott Hotel. And while elaborate plague masks may be part of steampunk costuming, COVID-19 face masks are required for all in door activities.

Explore all national, state and local returns now.