|The Wimmera’s first Steampunk Festival several weeks ago keeps getting bigger with the recent announcement of a date for the next festival
On top of over two thousand people who flocked to Dimboola to experience the event first-hand, it not only made headlines right across the Wimmera, Victoria, and Australia but has received international exposure with news services as far afield as France, Spain and South Korea also covering the story.
Save this date for the 2023 Wimmera Steampunk Festival - Saturday, April 22 2023.While Steampunk was the theme that brought out the curious and the well-informed alike, the message of inclusion was a big part of the event’s inspiration. This concept came across powerfully, both with people and groups from many diverse backgrounds coming together to join the party and through the eclectic mix of attractions on offer.
Above - You never know what you will see, or who you will meet at an event like this…
On Friday evening, the weekend started with Murtoa’s popular French and Fabulous Concert at the VRI Hall, featuring French-inspired music, song, and food. The Dimboola Girl Guides held a Garage Sale on Saturday morning, and the Court House and Print Museums were open, featuring Steampunk inspired displays. Many shops on Lloyd Street were open throughout the day to cater for the many visitors to the town.
Ian Lehmann’s new Music Museum in the 98-year-old Victoria Coffee Palace building in Victoria Street was officially opened by Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy, at 3.30 pm and proved very popular with visitors.
There was a display of old cars in Victoria Street and a Nhill themed photographic collection in the old Commonwealth Bank building featuring their Aviation Heritage Centre and Noske Flour Mill restoration project.
As the sun set, Lochiel Street between Lloyd and Victoria Streets was transported back to the 1890s with a mystical science fiction twist, and many attendees took the opportunity to come in costume to add to the atmosphere.
Market stalls and food vendors lined the street, with the Steampunk theme on display through many of them, but the opportunity was also taken to promote local towns and their attractions to the many visitors. These included a stall by the Kaniva and District Progress Association, which featured one of their famous painted sheep, and several promoting Nhill’s many attractions.
8.30 saw the appearance of the Flash Mob, performing two dances, which were followed by live music on the stage in the street adjacent to the Jellex block. In addition, live music was also played in the gardens behind the library.
A visual treat throughout the evening that captivated many onlookers was the projection of animated steampunk related images on the fronts of the Imaginarium, the old Commonwealth Bank, and the Star Theatre.
Tracey Rigney’s short film about the old Dimboola Hotel was shown in the Star Theatre.
Although the new Tower Park on the Dimboola Hotel site was not ready for the planned official opening, it was illuminated by an art installation of almost three hundred solar-powered flowers made from recycled milk cartons and other lights, giving an ever-changing multicoloured display.
The mural on the side wall of the Dimboola Café, which was painted by former local artist and designer of the official Wimmera Steampunk Festival logo, Travis Price, was illuminated throughout the evening with ever-changing colours.
The weekend wound down on Sunday afternoon with the Recharge Sunday concert on the lawns behind the library featuring performances by former Dimboola resident Aaron Moar and Wimmera musicians Darren Wardle and Jeff Woodward.
As promised, those who attended the weekend were indeed illuminated by a most peculiar event, and all are encouraged to save the date for the next festival and accept the challenge to make it even bigger and better than this year.