Steampunk-themed farmers market in New Freedom this weekend


Visitors to the New Freedom Farmers Market on Saturday might be asked to ready their weapons, which according to the rules of tea duelling, would be either cookies or biscuits.

Tea duelling is a steampunk "hobby" in which participants must select a cookie, fully submerge it in tea for five seconds and then try to eat it before it crumbles back into the mug.

It's one of many attractions featured at this weekend's steampunk-themed farmers market.

Steampunk: Steampunk refers to science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction stories set in an alternate 19th century where Victorian inventors made technological advancements with materials such as iron and brass while using steam engines for power.

The term steampunk also has come to refer to a general aesthetic or art style that typically includes elements such as metals and cogs and different types of antiques.

Though stereotypically Victorian, the aesthetic has evolved into "western and Goth and punk," said Marie Halapin, one of the event's organizers. "It has a lot of subcategories."

The event was inspired by Melissa Emerick, one of the market's frequent vendors, who sells steampunk-inspired jewelry.

The market: The weekend will kick off with a meet-and-greet scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Rail Trail Cafe on 117 N. Front St. Steampunk-themed clothing is encouraged, and a steam train caboose — located next door — will be open for pictures.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, Steam into History has a special Steampunk Railroad Flyers train ride: a 25-minute round trip for $5.

"The train being a steam engine just fits right into our theme," Halapin said.

The farmers market will open at 10 a.m. with all of its usual vendors, as well as additional steampunk-themed booths.

"It's all in the same place as our normal farmers market" behind the Rose Fire Company at 150 E. Main St., "but we'll have about 15 extra vendors, so about twice as many as we usually do," Halapin said.

Tea and other events: In addition to tea duelling, there also will be a high tea at noon, hosted by York-based Enchanted Teapot.

Tickets to the tea will cost $20, and the menu will include three tea sandwiches, three desserts, a scone with clotted cream and two varieties of tea.

Flim-Flam Sam, a strolling magician with the Magic of Country Conjuring, will wander the crowds from 11 a.m. to noon, and Capt. Andrey Schutzen, ordnance expert, will have a booth to showcase authentic Victorian-era swords and guns.

The event also will boast a Trinket Trade and Curiosity Swap — to participate bring five to 10 small handmade items, such as jewelry, buttons, stickers, patches or small crafts, to trade with others for something new.

"Macaroni Kids is setting up kids activities like croquet and other Victorian-type games," Halapin said, adding that everyone is welcome to participate in the costume contest.

The day is scheduled to end at Hodle, 106 N. Front St., a bar that originally served as a hotel for workers in the train industry.

"We've had fun planning it," Halapin said. "It really gives the vendors an opportunity and a nice place to sell their things for a good price, and it gives us the chance to do something fun and different."