Oamaru, New Zealand used to boast nothing more unusual than having the best preserved collection of Victorian architecture and buildings in the country. But, this small farming town is now making headlines and even the Guinness Book of World Records has noticed the reason why: the largest gathering of steampunk individuals in the world!
That's right, that's now a world record, and it was set by a sleepy little farm town that was suffering economically, which is now full of people in costumes who have even established a Steampunk HQ within the town. This HQ is chock full of displays of sculpture and Steampunk art.
According to some interviews done by The Guardian, the transition wasn't exactly an easy one. Some of the town's initial inhabitants were rather concerned, seeing their little town pick up a culture that they didn't understand and weren't entirely sure that they liked. But, once some of the art and sculpture came in, some made with items scavenged from their local dump or purchased at local second hand shops, that resistance slowly faded. In fact, many farmers and citizens became curious and made some creative inventions and displays of their own, which I think is the best way to pick up this culture that they could have done!
Now, it's become quite the place, with events and games that were made in the town itself. For example, teakettle racing. Unfortunately, it's rather difficult to find much about the rest of the games, so perhaps you'll just have to pay them a visit in Oamaru to try them out for yourselves.
Oamaru has actually become one of the most visited places in New Zealand since the evolution of Steampunk culture there and frequently holds festivals over the weekends and for special occasions when the town is full of fantastic costumes and art from all over, it's a hug attraction for everyone in the steampunk community and a fantastic place to blend in while you dress to stand out.
So, if you've got yourself a costume, a mechanical teakettle and some money for fare, check it out. TripAdvisor has a whole load of good reviews on the trip and attractions around it, and if you want to try to attend their next big festival, you'll have to wait until June 1-5 2017 according the the event's facebook page. Never know though, they have already set a world record once, they might do it again, if they do, you'll want to book early so you don't miss out!
To keep you busy through the wait, here are a few pictures of one of the past festivals, to daydream about until the days comes!
All photos are from the Festival's Facebook page and credit goes where it's due to each individual.