Sorry for the blog neglect! I seem to be struggling to find the time since returning from our trip, or maybe I just got used to actually going to bed at a decent hour and now my night owl internet ways are suffering ;) Not to fret though, as this post has turned out to be one of epic proportions!
So, maybe you’re wondering what’s with the getup? Maybe not. I admit this “costume” doesn’t stray too far from the realm of normal attire for me.
It is however, what I threw together sort of last minute for our town’s 2nd Annual Great Handcar Regatta and Exposition of Mechanical and Artistic Wonders. This Steampunk extravaganza, the brainchild of a group of local artist types whose grassroots efforts have brought the fun and fanciful event (complete w/ concocted backstory) to fruition now two years running, is both free to the public and the coolest event our humble suburban town has to offer.
As for the getup, we returned from our trip just in time to make it to the final flea market of the season, which is where I came across this pair of genuine vintage woolen knickers (for $5!) which I then built the outfit around. The white cotton peasant top was also a flea market find ($2). I came across the vintage leather wrap skirt thingy complete with awesome vintage cub scout pins ($6) in the Halloween costume section of my local Hospice Thrift a few days later and found the vintage engineer cap there for a dollar as well.
Among the accessories I added was this necklace featuring a compass that belonged to Lucas’ grandfather. Hard to see, but the engraving on the front says "ENG. DEPT. U.S.A. 1918" and legend has it that it’s the very compass he used as a kid in the scouts!
I should probably tell you though that the day turned out to be a scorcher with a high of 102 degrees! Yup, wool knickers… maybe not the wisest choice after all. Discomfort aside, I very much enjoyed the day’s festivities.
The event, which is a smaller-scale mix of maker-faire meets burning man meets kinetic race with a distinct Steampunk aesthetic centers around the racing of hand-built railcars on the old railroad tracks in the historic section of downtown. With live music on three stages, food, drink, arts, crafts, sideshows and curiosities, not to mention the handcar races themselves, there is no shortage of wonders to behold!
On that note, I took photos until my camera battery died:
People milling about on the tracks between races. It was awesome that so many people dressed up and really got into the spirit of the event.
The scene had a very Vaudevillian vibe with lots of old-timey circus touches. Always fun!
This amazing rotating sculpture was built by a local artist for this year’s Burning Man festival.
Live music and an eclectic cast of characters on the “Front Porch” stage.
One of my picture taking strategies was to find people posing for a professional photographer and then stealthily (or not) sneak my own pics. Such was the case with these dolled-up gals.
This crazy makeshift percussion instrument was played by various passersby throughout the day.
As you’ve probably already noticed the parasol turned out to be the must-have accessory of the day.
Fabric flags and lace doilies strung up to add a crafty and festive vibe to the live music and vendor areas.
These suspender dresses were super cute, oh if only I had had some extra pennies to spare!
More random stylish folk melting in the heat. The music and races and sideshows and such are all really fun, but I must say, my favorite part is the people watching… so much amazing style to take in!
My sister-in-law and niece looking mighty adorable! If I do say so myself : )
Frilly Victorian frocks, feathers and fanciful hats were in no short order and this ship-toting top hat was definitely one of the coolest I saw.
This would have been the way to travel if for nothing other than the portable shade.
Clownin’ around. There was a whole team of these ladies who rode a handcar in the races. They were adorable!
One of the more impressive handcar entries.
Lucas took this shot of me with my friend Laura Jane. She looked adorable in her outfit! I guess I ended up going more the tinkering-tomboy-ready-for-adventure route with mine, but next year I think it would be fun to do it up a bit more and get all girly and frilly.
As you can see, it was quite the spectacle, and for anyone with a camera, just bursting with photo-ops! I did a little flickr searching and found some really excellent ones that I thought captured the mood of the day quite beautifully. Just to be clear, I did not take the following photos (each can be clicked to link to it’s source on flickr):
That’s our good friend Joey helping the cute stripey clown gals onto their handcar and then sitting in the back seat on the left racing with his own handcar team. Go Joe!
Found this video on youtube. It’s got some clips from the actual races (including the take-off of the above barrel car) along with some live music and other random silliness, enjoy!