13 curiosities I saw at the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival

watch city 2015 calliope

Ah finally! After last year’s postponement, the Watch City Steampunk Festival was back in Waltham, MA this past weekend. And I had a fantastic time! Maybe due to the beautiful weather or the growth of steampunk culture in general, there seemed to be double (maybe triple!) attendees this year than in 2013. I think I snagged the last parking spot in all of Waltham by the time I got there, not expecting such an overwhelming turnout. Phew!

While 2013 had more big-name special guests (like Mike and Ethan from my favorite show Oddities), I felt that this year had more performances, energy, and an overall more “established” feel. I saw so many amazing costumes (even ones not remotely steampunk…) and just general bizarre, head-scratching awesomeness.

Here are 13 memorable sights from my Saturday steampunk adventure:

1. An electric pickle.

2. An antique fairground organ playing Coldplay’s “Clocks.” Appropriate for Watch City, no?

3. Really impressive aerial acrobatics!

4. A furry wearing a corset. Poor kitty must have been sweltering in the heat!

5. A man riding a penny farthing bicycle!

6. A designated whip-cracking area surrounded by yellow police tape on Carter street. Wouldn’t want anyone to get cracked, would we? Ouch!

7. At least five creepy baby doll heads. Is this a new steampunk thing? Why just the heads?

8. The most DELICIOUS grilled cheese I’ve ever consumed. From Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese Food Truck. Just thinking about the Green Muenster sandwich still makes my mouth water. Mmmmm.

9. Pirates, of course. Doesn’t matter the time period, Renaissance or Victorian, the pirates will surely be there with their swashbuckling and whatnot.

10. Lots of beautiful androgynous people. Hello.

11. A set of mortician’s cadaver teeth.

12. Queen Victoria fanning herself beneath a tree. Surprised she didn’t suffer a heat stroke in all her fanciful attire.


watch city humachine

I’ve named him Mr. Toothy.

Unrelated to the festival, I also saw a leathery shirtless man lying flat on his back on the Charles River Museum’s lawn (I was worried he was dead, but he was just tanning, I guess), next to people setting up chairs for a wedding. I don’t think it was a steampunk wedding, sadly. I like to imagine that the newlyweds had no idea that Watch City Fest was even happening next door until the steampunk furry or the guy on stilts showed up in half their wedding photos.


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