Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

Conventional Wisdom

Atlanta Steampunk Meetup - October 5, 2008

by Dan Hollifield

October 5th, 2008 - It was a hot and steamy day...

Cita, Michelle, and I went to Atlanta for the first-ever meet-up of the TerminuSteam Atlanta area Live Journal group. The group met at Historic Oakland Park cemetery in downtown Atlanta. The cemetery is within view of the state capitol building - A mere five blocks away, in fact. The park historical society was holding their annual Victorian Festival as one of their regular Sunday in the Park events. Admission was a mere $2 donation to the park's restoration fund. They're cleaning up the park and restoring the grave sites after this year's tornado that tore through downtown Atlanta a few months ago. The cemetery is slightly over 150 years old, covers what looked to me to be 40 or 50 acres of hilly, sometimes wooded ground, and is surrounded by a beautiful Civil War-era red brick wall. There were upwards of 4000 people attending the Victorian Festival - 22 or so of whom were fellow steampunkers from TerminuSteam. We stood out a bit, even from the other people in Victorian and Civil War costumes.

Everyone was friendly and admired our outfits. Almost everywhere we looked, there were cameras being pointed at us. Many people made a point of complimenting our clothes. Cita has fond memories of many elderly gentlemen tipping their hats and offering compliments on how nice she looked. While listening to Bluegrass music, we got a snack from one of the food vendors and sat at a table in the shade. Then we walked around some more, meeting up with various steampunkers and historical costumers, looking at the wares in the various booths, and taking in some of the historical exhibits. We were particularly fond of a huge display of Civil War-era currency. All the different bank notes and script were preserved between thick sheets of poster-sized Plexiglass and set up on easels in a cool, shaded alcove outside the park's office & museum building.

The park itself is a beautiful place. We must have walked down miles of paved pathways. Some paths were shaded by huge, old trees, some were out in the bright sunlight. All led between row after row of headstones and elaborate mausoleums. We saw several grassy open areas ringed by shade trees in between the groups of grave sites. At that, I'm sure that we didn't see a third of the place. We're looking forward to going again next year, but I think we'll be wearing much lighter, more suitable Summer steampunk attire.

Here is one of the group photos (posted to Flickr by one of the others attending the meet-up) taken around 2:30 in the afternoon

This was after the festival's costume contest. That event featured a double-dozen people in lovely, historically accurate Victorian and Civil War-era costumes - As well as several members of TerminuSteam. Two of those won in the categories "Most Unusual" and "Best Overall" much to the annoyance of the historical costumers - At least at first. After the contest, much mingling lead to better understand and the swapping of fabric and accessory acquisition tips between the costumers and the steampunkers.

TerminuSteam then headed out for a wooded area near the main gate to pose for a set of group photos. After our group photos were taken, the group split up. Some going to a nearby restaurant, and others returning to enjoy the live music, storytellers, and food vendors in the park's wooded vales. It was at this time that Michelle, Cita, and I headed back home, but now we wish that we had stayed longer. I'm sure that much more went on after we left. There was plenty more of the festival left to run.

Here is a photo (again, posted to Flickr by one of the others attending the meet-up) of Cita and I in our finery.

A good time was had by all, despite the late Summer heat. We left for home far too soon, but we plan to go to another meet-up sometime in the future. There are plans for TerminuSteam to hold regular meet-ups from now on, perhaps even monthly. We won't be able to go to all of them, but we can go once every few months.

© 2008 Dan Hollifield

Dan Hollifield is the Senior Editor of Aphelion.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.