Scottsboro hosts Alabama's first ever Steampunk Festival

Scottsboro hosts Alabama's first ever Steampunk Festival

Katie Hightower

On Saturday, June 15, Scottsboro hosted Alabama’s first Steampunk Festival at the Square. Attendees had the opportunity to buy Steampunk-themed wares from vendors, eat a variety of foods, meet a Steampunk author, listen to music and chat with other Steampunk enthusiasts. Attending persons and vendors dressed to fit the Steampunk theme and gave a visual presentation of Steampunk artistry to the eyes of all who were present. Festival participants wore goggles, Victorian hats, gear-laden broaches, corsets, boots and even chain mail tops.

Byron Lauderdale, who organized the event, was ready to mingle while wearing a top-hat with goggles. 

“I’m happy to be here. It makes people happy, and I love making people happy. I enjoy watching the smiles on people’s faces. If people tell me they’re having fun, it makes my day,” Lauderdale said.

Author Paul Edward Turner signed copies of his latest book at the festival. Turner began his writing journey in fan-fiction but moved into the genre of Steampunk. Journey to the Sky, Turner’s novel featured at the festival, will have a sequel coming soon. Turner said he planned on coming back next year with copies of his sequel book. Turner made sure to wear Steampunk attire at the festival by sporting a newsboy hat, goggles, blue button-down shirt and a vest.

Vendors from as far away as North Carolina made their way to the Steampunk Festival. When asked if he would want to come to more Steampunk festivals here, Basil Meadows of Reddog Crafts said he would. Meadows built and sold custom dice holders and Dungeon and Dragons boards at the festival.

The Sand Mountain Bootleggers mobile barbecue unit filled the air with the savory smell of Texas-style smoked brisket. The unique unit in itself had a Steampunk look to it with its rugged steel pits, metal awnings and pipe-railings.

Two notable figures who appeared at the festival were Steampunk Santa Craig Cringle and That Filipina Mrs. Claus, Aila Cringle. Also known as Craig and Aileen Hamilton, the Claus’s drove to the festival from Huntsville so they could spread Steampunk summer Christmas cheer. 

Aileen Hamilton, known as “the only Filipina Mrs. Claus in the entire southeastern US,” said, “Santa has been known to have a specific image but Mrs. Claus does not. I love that I can do this to bring diversity and culture to children of Asian descent. I also love Christmas and want to celebrate Christmas every day.” 

There was live music to keep the crowd entertained as well. Depot 41 from God’s Grace Ministries filled the air with lively tunes. Jonathan Ward, singer for Depot 41 said, “I had a blast. It’s been real fun.” 

Shachar Newton and Lily Gray drove to the festival from Huntsville. 

“I saw it on Facebook and I’m into anime so I thought I’d come to check it out. It’s cute and kinda small, but I’ll come back next year,” Newton said.

Murron from Scottsboro heard about it through work and said, “It’s just so cool. I would love to see more diverse stuff like this here in town.”

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