Lorilee Houston, Brass Screw Confederacy organizer, tries her hand at crafting in preparation for the Pinewood Derby races in the American Legion Hall on Saturday.

Lorilee Houston, Brass Screw Confederacy organizer, tries her hand at crafting in preparation for the Pinewood Derby races in the American Legion Hall on Saturday.

Steampunk Festival to bring adventure, whimsy to Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — The Brass Screw Confederacy Steampunk Festival will take over downtown Port Townsend for its seventh year this weekend with “Perilous Adventures.”

Be on the lookout for costume-clad Steampunk artists, entertainers, magicians and pirates to bring a bit of whimsical mayhem to town today through Sunday.

“You’ll see hundreds of people downtown in amazing costumes. It’s great just for people-watching,” said Nathan Barnett, director of Olympic Peninsula Steam, a Port Townsend-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and self-proclaimed leader of the Brass Screw Confederacy.

“We’ve matured, in part by getting much more playful,” Barnett said.

Barnett said the festival is more kid-friendly this year, offering its annual scavenger hunt and all-ages Nerf War.

“We’re adding an aeronautic drone obstacle course and pinewood derby crafting and races in the American Legion Hall,” he said.

“We’re quietly hoping to be joined by Eli the camel from Sequim on Saturday afternoon. These events are all free to 13 and under, and just $25 for up to 18 or anyone with a student ID.”

Tonight will be a variety show with burlesque, magic, a strongman and music by Shaky Barbers. It’s free to members or $15 at the door at the American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St.

On Saturday night, the Hootenanny will feature Jason Webley.

“He’s one of the great singer-songwriters of our day,” Barnett said. “I first saw Jason busking FolkLife. Since then he’s gone on to tour over 40 countries and runs multiple music programs.”

According to Barnett, last year 500 people participated, many of them from out of town to kick off a busy tourist season. He expects to beat those numbers this weekend.

The Brass Screw was founded in 2012 as a project of the Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network.

“We knew there was a need for cool adventures for those who didn’t move away after school,” Barnett said.

“There were school programs and family programs and stuff for retirees. But we wanted to attract people who fell into the gap.

“Absinthe bars, burlesque shows, great costume opportunities and amazing bands helped meet those needs. Our board and volunteer teams are folks who moved to town because of the amazing fun that can be had here.

“It’s working,” he exclaimed.

For more information about events and tickets, see http://www.brassscrew.org/.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]

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