By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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PORT TOWNSEND — The third annual Brass Screw Confederacy Steampunk Festival begins today and continues through Sunday.
The Brass Screw Confederacy High Command in the Cotton Building, 607 Water St., will be open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. today and from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, offering tickets, schedule updates and answers to questions.
For more information or to make reservations, visit www.brass-screw.com.
■ Oddly Small's Photo Booth, 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. — Cotton Building, 607 Water St. Portraits will be available for purchase.
■ Victorian Tea, 3 p.m. — Commander's Beach House, 440 Hudson St. Tea — sandwiches, scones and jam, and desserts — is served in a historic home. Sold-out.
■ Oceanography on the Dock, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — The Port Townsend Marine Science Center in Fort Worden State Park. The center's two octopi guests will be fed. Admission to the marine science center is $5 for adults, $3 for youths and free to center members.
■ “Rise of Aester” Lecture, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. — Pope Marine Building, 603 Water St. This will immerse participants into “the finer details of the otherness,” organizers said.
■ Bazaar of the Bizarre, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. — American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St. The free event includes vendors and artists.
■ “Rise of Aester” Game Demo, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Pope Marine Building. First 30 minutes is for check-in and character assignment in this steampunk world where the skies are filled with a mysterious substance called Ęster.
■ Steampunk Den of Inequities, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. — Cotton Building. Steampunk saloon with absinthe and music. The Blue Crows begin playing at 7 p.m. for this 21-and-older event.
■ Photo from the Hoosegow, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — Jefferson County Historical Society & Museum, 504 Water St. Free admission with a Brass Screw ticket of historical society membership. At the historic jail, participants can take a picture and upload it to the Brass Screw site to participate in a photo contest.
■ Speakeasy at Cellar Door, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. — Cellar Door, 940 Water St., entrance on Tyler Street. Music and cocktails. For those 21 and older.
■ “Rise of Aester” Game Demo, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Pope Marine Building.
■ Bazaar of the Bizarre, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. — American Legion Hall.
■ Photo from the Hoosegow, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Jefferson County Historical Society & Museum.
■ Brass Screw Chautauqua, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Key City Public Theatre, 419 Washington St., and the Bishop Victorian Hotel Garden Room, 714 Washington St. Two locations for a variety of lectures and entertainment.
■ Piratical Adventures, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Pope Marine Park beach, 100 Tyler St. Capt. James “Black-dog” Galahad of the B.S.C.S. Cloud-Runner and his first mate, Amelia Madieros, will lead the search for lost airship parts,
■ Duelatorium, noon to 1 p.m. — Pope Marine Park, 601 Water St. Shooting duels and games of chance. $1.
■ Inaugural Tactical Croquet Tourney, noon to 2 p.m. — Memorial Athletic Field, 550 Washington St. Reservations required; they can be made at the Cotton Building. $5 per player; $25 deposit for the mallet or bring your own.
■ Rise of Aester Lecture, 1 p.m. — Pope Marine Building.
■ Oddly Small's Photo Booth, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. — Cotton Building.
■ Sound & Fury Morris and Sword, 1 p.m. — Pope Marine Building. Free traditional English Morris dancing.
■ Oceanography on the Dock, 2 p.m. — The Port Townsend Marine Science Center in Fort Worden State Park. The center's two octopi guests will be fed.
■ Grande Promenade, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. — Free promenade along Water Street.
■ Steampunk Den of Inequities, 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. — Cotton Building. Steampunk saloon with absinthe and music.
■ “Rise of Aester” Game Demo, 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. — Pope Marine Building.
■ Girl Genius Radio Theatre, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. — Key City Theatre, 419 Washington St.
■ Fashion Follies, 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. — Walkway behind the Cotton Building.
■ J.R. Boyett reads from his latest steampunk novel, 7:30 p.m. — Pope Marine Building. Presented by the PT Shorts program in collaboration with Key City Public Theatre.
■ Steampunk Hootenanny, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. — Building 202 at Fort Worden State Park. Bands, burlesque, bars and displays. $15 for adults; $5 for those 16-20 years old.
■ Bazaar of the Bizarre, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — American Legion Hall.
■ Airship Apprentice Tournament, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Whistle Stop Toys, 1005 Water St. Cards collected from Port Townsend merchants will be used in the game.
■ Inaugural Tactical Croquet Tourney, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Memorial Athletic Field, 550 Washington St.
■ Brass Screw Chautauqua, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Key City Public Theatre and the Bishop Victorian Hotel Garden Room, 714 Washington St.
■ Victorian Tea, 1 p.m. — Commander's Beach House. $25. Reservations required.
“It's a great festival that adds a lot to both the downtown and uptown areas,” said Teresa Verraes, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce executive director.
“It brings in a whole new group of visitors and provides entertainment for people who are visiting here for other reasons.”
The Brass Screw Confederacy, colloquially known as the Steampunk Festival, will offer three days of celebrations, costumes and imagination celebrating the intersection of science fiction and Victorian history.
A general admission pass for $25 will get participants into most of the events, although some require an extra admission charge.
Among the attractions will be such games as the Tactical Croquet Tourney, described as “croquet meets miniature golf meets Alice in Wonderland,” a “Rise of Aester” game demo in a strange steampunk world and Piratical Adventures, in which participants seek lost airship parts.
For $1 each, those with grudges can fight a duel at the Duelatorium while others enjoy a civilized Victorian Tea or learn about the Victorian Era at Brass Screw Chautauqua lectures.
The Steampunk Den of Inequities and Speakeasy at Cellar Door will offer refreshments for those older than 21.
Airship Apprentice, a game using collectible cards, will encourage young and older to find the cards at various shops the day before the tournament Sunday.
The Port Townsend Marine Science Center will carry out the theme of the festival, “Octopi Port Townsend,” by showing off two of its many-armed guests.
The center will host an “exploratorium” at the Steampunk Hootenanny on Saturday night.
Just the right blend
Port Townsend's blend of architecture, artisanship and maritime location are tailormade for the celebration, said Mari Mullen, Port Townsend Main Street executive director.
“The events are an inspired way to tie our Victorian past with the present and an unknown point in the future,” she said.
“Our authentic seaport is the perfect stage for this theatrical and creative culture.
“They are imaginative, artistic people who love to reinvent themselves.”
The event is sponsored by Olympic Peninsula Steam, which also puts on March's more traditional Victorian Festival.
Since the partnership was formed, there has been a certain cross-pollination, with the Brass Screw event evolving into the Victorian Festival's wilder, younger sibling.
The event received a good news/bad news boost from the ending of Bellevue's annual Steamcon festival, one of the largest steampunk conventions in the U.S.
The cancellation of Steamcon VI, set in October, means the Port Townsend Brass Screw festival will become the go-to steampunk event for the Pacific Northwest.
Mullen hopes the event will result in the historic districts and Fort Worden seeing a boost in visitors and business.
“There is growing excitement about it, and an increasing number of businesses are capitalizing on this niche interest,” she said.
“We want to connect our businesses with these customers and welcome them with open arms to Port Townsend.”
Verraes thinks people who come to Port Townsend this weekend either for the festival or for other reasons could become so enchanted with the location they will move here or relocate their business.
Verraes said attendees of other steampunk events will get a pleasant surprise at Brass Screw.
“Many steampunk events are held in exhibition halls and people never see the light of day,” she said.
“They get a different feeling here because the architecture is so authentic.”
Chimacum artist Thaddeus Jurczynski fell in with steampunk a few years before Brass Screw was born and has become an active participant.
This year, he designed rooms in Fort Worden's Building 202 to create various themes.
The temporary designs will be removed to make way for the building's eventual home to Goddard College and Peninsula College, but for now, visitors can imagine themselves in a spaceship or underwater.
“When I was a kid, I really enjoyed H.G. Wells and Jules Verne,” Jurczynski said.
“Steampunk brings those events alive for me.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com.