By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Steam House Con 2015 brings steampunk to the Central Valley
Members of the Star Wars Steampunk Universe enjoy a moment of fun during the 1st Annual Steam House Con at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds on Friday. Captain Solo Seekerman, Lando, Chance Chronos, Baron Von Maul and Steamy Leia, who are all from various locations in Southern California, invite the public to their booth today and Sunday as they offer free photo ops, activities for children and children at heart and much more. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Take a large dose of science-fiction, add some steam-powered machinery and finish with Victorian flare — that is what steam punk is all about. Steam House Con 2015, a steampunk convention, rolled into town on Friday bringing all of this and much more to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, complete with celebrity appearances and world renowned host Doc Phineas.

The event will continue throughout the weekend and it’s an experience like none other.

“You’ll see creativity at its finest—personal costumes, handmade creatures, just beautiful tinkering,” said Iris Dimond, owner of Dimond Works. “Everything from sci-fi fantasy to gaming; it’s just a great time.”

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction (and sometimes fantasy) that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th century industrial steam-powered machinery.

“There’s such a freedom to it, not like other genres of a time period where people can just pick you apart,” said Maggie Retherford, owner of The Virtuous Woman. “With Steampunk, you’re only limited by your imagination—you’re just a time traveler grabbing what you need at that time, sort of like Dr. Who.”

Doors open at 9 a.m. today and Sunday at Steam House Con and events include  a future of steampunk panel discussion with Doc Phineas, Gene Forrer, Tayliss Forge and Yuly Springer, mediated by Professor Falconer at 11:30 a.m. today; a "Star Trek Deep Space 9" panel with Chase Masterson, Cirroc Lofton and Hana Hatae at 3 p.m. today; a Tea Dueling Class with Madame Askew at 10 a.m. Sunday; and gaming tournaments at noon both today and Sunday, just to name a few activities.

There will also be a charity cosplay ball at 7:30 p.m. today with a $5 donation entrance fee and a celebrity judged cosplay contest. Participants can enter today for $5 for the Sunday competition.

A complete list of events can be found at

“Come for the curiosity of it,” said Retherford. “There’s budding artists, clothing, antiques—just a little bit of everything for everyone.”

Steampunk conventions are becoming more and more popular throughout the nation, and each con brings something unique. No artist is the same and creativity stems from the people involved.

“I’m the World President of the Steampunk Guild and have kind of been out there as the face of this movement since the late 1980s,” said Doc Phineas. “It can be hard for smaller communities to get something like this going and I am so happy to be a part of it.”

Steam House Con hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $40 for one day or $60 for the weekend.