The Watch City Festival

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On May 12th & 13th, 2012, the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation presents the third annual Watch City Festival! This is a city-wide event that celebrates the imagination, history and ingenuity behind Steampunk. For one weekend the city of Waltham is transformed into an alternate reality “trapped in time” where the lines between science fiction and the industrial revolution are blurred to bring guests into an immersible experience like no other!

The Steampunk City festival helps the museum to renovate following the flooding of the Charles river in 2009. Your purchase of a Steampunk City button goes directly to the museum.

The main events will take place on Saturday and Sunday at locations in central Waltham, MA. Citizens of Watch City are also invited to join us for special preview events the evening of Friday, May 11th.

Guests will be transported into a world where dirigibles and hot air balloons race the skies, an old-fashioned midway entertains the crowds, and there are unique performers, musicians, and characters at every corner all telling the story of their world. International published authors and entertainers known nationwide will fill our bookstores and auditoriums. The town common will be transformed into a bazaar filled with vendors offering fine leatherwork, costumes and wearables, gadgets and jewelery along with buskers and demonstrations that tip their hat to a realm forgotten. There is even a race for Mayor to put the best man or woman into the seat to make decisions on the future of Watch City!

The event is family-friendly but will also offer some adult entertainment in the form of “Steampunk after dark” events which will entice guests with musical acts, burlesque dancers and carnival side-show performances.

The Watch City Festival is not just another convention. It is an event that literally brings a community together. From the Museum to small businesses to schools, and even the Mayor’s office, there is no event that celebrates culture and the arts with fun, food and fantasy like this one.

The Watch City Festival 2012 will push the boundaries of last year’s event, which welcomed 10,000 visitors to the city. This year we are expecting close to 15,000 guests.

The Watch City Festival opens with a bang at 6:00pm on Friday night with the Mayor’s Election Night Party at the Watch City Brewing Company! First Frenchy and the Punk will rock the house, followed by a book signing from Jules Verne expert Jean-Christophe Valtat, and finally we’ll enjoy a performance from the band Infernal Devices! A festival button is not required for this event, but we encourage you to sample some Watch City Brew.

Schedule highlights

Everyone loves a parade, and we’re having two of them! Gather at Landry Park just outside of the Museum at 2:00pm on Saturday the 12th and 4:00pm on Sunday the 13th. Decorate a wagon, pram, or other sidewalk-friendly prop and make a mini parade float!

On Saturday, May 12th, at 3:00pm we will host a Victorian Tea Dance at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation. Dances will be taught.

In the evening on Saturday, May 12th, keep an eye out for mermaids in the river near the museum! This unique light show is something you will not want to miss. Be outside the Museum in Landry Park at 7:30pm for some pre-show entertainment, and look for the mermaids around 8:30pm when it’s dark. See this sample video from a previous event:

For you late night party people, join us at the museum on Saturday, May 12th for the Boston Babydolls Burlesque Show and Dance Party, thanks to sponsor Samuel Adams/The Boston Beer Company! This party will be for adults 21+ only and will require an extra fee: $10 with a festival button, $15 without. Tickets will be sold at the door.

The dance party will feature LIVE TECHNO CONTRA: A contra dance with livetronica dance music performed by FIRECLOUD (Andy Reiner – fiddle, vocals, mandolin; Julie Vallimont – piano, synths, samples, beats, loops). House beats meet bluegrass fiddle tunes, in a club atmosphere. Calling by Daniel Friedman. All dances taught, all are welcome.

On Saturday, May 12th, the roleplaying group Be Epic will be hosting a “Choose Your Own Adventure Pub Crawl”!

Join us for our yearly choose-your-own-adventure event! Meet a cast of fascinating characters, solve mysteries, and choose sides as you explore the city of Waltham. Teams of up to 10 players are encouraged. The event runs approximately two to three hours, depending how long teams choose to make the experience.

You can sign up in advance, or look for the Be Epic table on Waltham’s town common on Saturday. The event will begin at 5:00pm on the common. Visit for details and to register.

Steampunk Trivia events will be held twice on Saturday and once on Sunday at Upper Crust Pizzeria.

On Sunday from 4pm-8pm come enjoy a fiddle circle at The Skellig.

The Red Cross will be conducting a blood drive on Sunday May 13th from 10:00AM to 3:00PM. Sign up in the Visitor’s Center on Waltham Common. The local mad scientists have promised not to take any blood samples for cloning.