A steampunk festival is coming to downtown Van Buren.
Old Timers Day Steampunk Festival is scheduled April 27, 28 and 29 along historic Main Street, according to Mark Shaffer, president of The Old Town Merchants Association.
On Monday, members of the Van Buren City Council approved the closing of streets in downtown for five TOTMA events, including the Steampunk Festival.
Others are Fall Festival Oct. 12-14, Halloween on Main Street on Oct. 27, Jingle and Mingle on Main Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and the annual Christmas parade on Dec. 8.
Main Street in downtown also will be closed to vehicular traffic on Saturday and Sunday during Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Junk Fests will be May 26-27 and Sept. 1-2 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Third to Eighth streets on Main.
Last year’s inaugural Junk Fest featured 52 vendors offering merchandise of repurposed, vintage, salvaged, reclaimed, antiques, boutique items, vintage clothing, farmhouse and more. Food truck vendors participated and there was entertainment on three stages throughout the event.
Shaffer told the council the word steampunk originated in the late 1980s and has continued grow in popularity.
“It has influenced fashion, music, home decor and the entertainment world,” he said. “Silver Dollar City is currently building one of the most expensive coaster rides with the theme of Steampunk Watchmaker Shop with the emphasis of traveling through time.”
Shaffer said Cathy Lumpkin’s Key Lime Crush shop on Main Street is 80 percent steampunk.
“We also are getting help from Poteau which hosts one of the largest steampunk festivals,” he said. “The Old Timers Day Festival has been around for 40 years and it is time for it to be revitalized.”
Wikipedia describes steampunk as a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.
“It’s simplistic, fun, imaginary and creative thinking for clothing, gadgets and home furnishings,” Shaffer said. “It will be part of the Steampunk Festival.”