Steampunk Event Returns To Downtown Bloomington | WGLT

Steampunk Event Returns To Downtown Bloomington

May 30, 2018

Cogs and Corsets: A Central Illinois Steampunk Happening is back for a second year of elaborate costuming, outrageous gadgetry and history—both real and imagined.

Melanie Shellito, one of the organizers of Cogs and Corsets, said the event appeals to both to curious locals and steampunk fanatics from across the U.S. They hope to repeat the success of the inaugural year.

“The steam punk community is pretty interwoven and interconnected. And those visitors went back home to their own groups and their own people and they went, ‘Wow! Bloomington-Normal put on an amazing event!’ It was year one and it was unbelievable. Next thing we know, performers are reaching out to us and asking to take part.”

Melanie Shellito (L) and Cathy Sutliff are eager to see if they can repeat the success of the first year of Cogs and Corsets.
Credit Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The event has vendors from five states, offering a variety of wares, from hat makers to ceramicists to jewelry makers. Also, several authors of steampunk novels will be in attendance at Cogs and Corsets.

“This is most definitely a family-friendly event,” said Cathy Sutliff, another organizer of Cogs and Corsets. “We have the Children’s Discovery Museum partnering with the McLean County Museum of History to do family-friendly events on the grass at the museum Friday night, plus Saturday and Sunday.”

That means croquet, but also STEAM activities (see what they did there?). Kids can create their own steampunk parachutes and more, discovering the science behind the period items.

Shellito and Sutliff agree that one of the best things about being a member of the steampunk community is just how accepting participants are.

“It’s a really creative community of makers and artists. It’s an inclusive group that allows you to interpret steampunk the way you wish,” explained Shellito. “So you get to create your own reality and bring your own vision to this, and when all these different people with different visions get together, it becomes this beautiful cacophony of personas. You see everything in steampunk, and it’s all OK!”

And don’t worry if you lack any steampunk gear or costumes. That inclusive spirit extends to those who just want to explore for the weekend and enjoy the acres of creativity.

Cogs and Corsets runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday in downtown Bloomington.

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