A gathering of 200 or more Steampunk fans brought a lively new dimension to the normally sedate atmosphere of the Gold Coast Railroad Museum on Saturday, Apr. 21, when RAIL, Steampunk Under the Sea took place.
Conducted by the event producer Rivet Nation, the get-together ran from noon until 8 p.m. and featured imaginative costumes, music, food, merchandise and contests.
Steampunk is often described as Victorian Science Fiction, inspired by Victorian era clothing and atmosphere but with elements of modern science added in the style of antique technology. The RAIL event was the second one conducted at the railroad museum next to Zoo Miami and was partially inspired by Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Proper British military characters rubbed elbows with lords and ladies, sea monsters and mermaids.
Pedro Hernandez, who attended in an elaborate Captain Nemo costume of his own design, said he enjoys the creativity of the Steampunk genre.
“This event is awesome,” Hernandez said. “There’s a lot of interesting vendors in here and a lot of interesting people in costumes. I get ideas from others, and I take it one step further. It’s thinking outside the box. I started in 2010 with the Renaissance Fair up in White Water Park in Deerfield and have gone to Pirate Fest and other events.”
Sheri A Friedman, a South Miami-Dade artist who with Nadia Desjardins manages Rivet Nation and its events, frequently took the microphone during the day to announce activities and contests, changing costumes several times.
“It’s an organization, multidisciplinary,” Friedman said. “We do large events like this one, but we also do small events such as art exhibits throughout the year. We promote different aspects of Steampunk — not just the cosplay — the film elements, the costuming of course, music, visual arts. We like to pull it together and feature creatives in all the different genres.
“I first became attracted to it because of the clothing style, but I enjoy people getting together creatively, and the escapism of it. Getting away from the reality of our world and enjoying a fantasy world that’s very inclusive for everybody. It’s a lot of fun.”
Rivet Nation is on Facebook and has its own website, www.rivetnation.org.