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I heard something out of the ordinary was taking place at Nene Valley Railway last weekend (10th and 11th May) so – of course, I went to check it out!

All I knew was that the ‘Steampunks’ would be there ready to offer a fun filled weekend for Peterborough families.

My first quest was to find out what Steampunk was. It turns out that Steampunk is the science fiction of the steam age. Where conventional science fiction looks forward and asks “What will the future be like?” steampunk looks backward and asks “How might the Victorian Age have been different?”

Steampunk fashion is about creating an outfit that delights the senses, entertains the wearer, and engages the viewer. On my arrival I caught a glimpse of some of these weird and wonderful outfits – as seen in our photos.

Photos: Emma Bothamley

So, what else was going on during the weekend – lots of Victorian Steampunk pursuits and wacky games including tea duelling, brolly fencing and corset limbo. Plus there was plenty of musical entertainment and unusual items for sale. And, as a special guest representing ESP I got to judge a hat contest.

One of the stall traders and Steampunk enthusiast, Biff Ravenhill, said “It’s fabulous that there are so many people here. I have spoken to some of the visitors who have confirmed they all made their own costumes, which is very important! We Steampunks like to make our own outfits – a creativity that’s sometimes lacking in today’s society. One gentleman made an extraordinary leather top hat decorated with amazing pieces of pipe.”

So, why do Biff and the fellow Steampunks travel around the country doing this? Biff says, “Well, it’s a great escape from the ‘normal life.’ People don’t dress up anymore – you go to the Opera and see people wearing something I wouldn’t wear to the office. As a society we need to have fun and the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and let a flamboyant part of us out.”

Fancy your own break from reality and finding out more about the Steampunks? The good news some of them are based in Stamford. You can find them on Twitter (@SteampunkStam) or look up ‘Steampunk’ on Facebook.

Organisers are hoping to return soon so if you missed out last weekend, keep checking their social networking sites for details on their next popular return.

Mikey Clarke

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