LOWELL — The Mill City Steampunk Festival will honor Lowell’s industrial age and look forward to its future during events and activities Friday through Sunday, April 29-May 1. Incorporating technology and designs inspired by 19th-century steam-powered machinery, the Steampunk movement is expressed in literary works, clothing styles, film, architecture and more. The festival grew out of a partnership between the Lowell National Historical Park and UMass Lowell English Prof. Diana Archibald, who together led the city’s successful “Dickens in Lowell” celebration in 2012. Other partners include the Tsongas Industrial History Center, a collaborative initiative of UMass Lowell’s Graduate School of Education and the national park.
All programs are free and open to the public. Start your Festival experience at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center, 246 Market St., where visitors can have their photo taken with Charles Dickens at a green-screen photo booth. Come in costume to participate in a contest for a cash prize. Next, take a free trolley ride and go on tours of the Suffolk Mill and the Tremont Powerhouse. These tours, available for one weekend only, will take you “Behind the Gears” for a glimpse into Lowell’s industrial origins. Trolley tours will be available at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the photo booth runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. all weekend.
Other programs include:
“Makers on the Line” — An interactive exhibit that gives the public a chance to experience what it was like to assemble timepieces; Saturday, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Tsongas Industrial History Center, 115 John St.
“Steampunk Design: Re-imagining Resilience” — A talk by artist Bruce Rosenbaum, an expert in the movement, Saturday, 3-4:30 p.m., Lowell National Historical Park Boott Events Center, 115 John St.
The OtherWhere Market will be up and running at Mill No. 5, Fourth Floor, 250 Jackson St., on Saturday followed by an Eventide Social, a grand party that will feature a Steampunk theme at 7 p.m.
“From Bicycles to Airplanes” — The presentation offers a brief history of the bicycle and its relationship to other developing technologies of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Sunday, 1:30 p.m., Lowell Makes, 47 Lee St.
Visit the “Mill City Steampunk Festival” Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/484868098380484/.