Steampunk is back in Hannibal

Burwinkle, J. Moose

J. Moose Burwinkle is one of the Emcees for the event. Photo: Jim Dewey

HANNIBAL – Another of Hannibal’s major festivals returns after skipping a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Labor Day weekend will see the seventh Big River Steampunk Festival. The festival will feature a number of familiar as well as new entertainers and vendors. The festival is also under new ownership after the previous organizers, Ken and Lisa Marks moved out of town.

Big River Steampunk Festival returns after a one-year COVID-induced hiatus.

Tammy Riley, owner of Riverside Restaurant, is the new owner of the Steampunk Festival. Riley says the event will kick off with a parade from Center Street and Main to the Main Stage and a blessing of the festival at 10 o’clock Saturday morning. New this year will be a Wasteland area and a Dieselpunk area Riley says Dieselpunk is more industrial in its theme and the wasteland will be reminiscent of the backdrop of the Mad Max films. The original Mad Max film was set in 2021. The parade will be led by a Mad Max vehicle.  

Also added this year is a Steampunkin’ area that will include games, make and take, face painting, Nerf Dueling and Airship racing for kids 2-12. 

Most of the entertainment will be on or near North Main Street using the Main Stage on the north end, the Boyhood Home stage at HIll and Main and the Y Men’s Pavilion at the foot of Hill Street. All of the vendors will be on main street as well. But, there will be three venues along South Main including the newly remodeled Train Depot, Star Theater and Tanyard Gardens. 

The local band No Wake will headline a concert Saturday Night at Tanyard Gardens. Opening that show will be Ragged Blade Band. On Sunday night, Gentry Blue Band, which is led by perennial Festival favorite Lady Dragoness will, be the headliner at Tanyard Gardens. Other entertainment will include an illusionist, a fashion show, costume contests for humans and pets, comedy and music on all stages. There will be make and takes where guests will be able to design and build their own steampunk creations. There will be role playing, and dueling with umbrellas, Nerf guns and tea dueling. 

Riverside restaurant will be home to several events including seminars on Ragtime and a couple of tea parties. And Planters Barn Theater will be home to a staged reading of an original Steampunk Melodrama written for this event. The play will be performed by members of the Youth Education Theater Initiative (YETI) from Bluff City Theater. Actors range in age from 8 to 15. That show will be at 11:30 Saturday morning and 6 Sunday evening. Admission is free.

The weekend kicks off with a pub crawl Friday night for those who have purchased tickets. Admission to Big River Steampunk Festival is free and much of the entertainment is also free, but there are also a number of ticketed events including those at Tanyard Gardens and the Star Theater. Riley said there are some tickets left and they can be purchased at the ticket booth on Main Street.

More information and a schedule are available at

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