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The Mad Hatters team party drew a crowd of Alice in Wonderland enthusiasts. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Saturday, October 20, 2018

By Chris Frost



Smack dab in the middle of the 2018 Oxnard Steampunk Festival at Heritage Square on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, Oct. 13 and 14, the Mad Hatters Tea Party drew a capacity crowd of people dressed in Steampunk attire, plus people dressed in “Alice in Wonderland” costumes.

Attendees enjoyed their choice of teas, and assorted goodies like cucumber sandwiches, cookies, and cheesecake, all set in a backdrop from Alice in Wonderland.

Like many other people at the tea, Lady Elvira Garcia Blásquez de Avila was dressed up and wearing a short distance jetpack. She was a time traveler who landed at the tea party.

“I materialized at the wrong place at the wrong time, and I have to make a quick getaway,” she said. “I am definitely in the right place. I am originally from the 1300’s but I found a package with some plants to make a time machine, and I have been jetting around from century to century. My favorite is the Victorian era, and that’s where I spend most of my time.”

Elvira said she is a widow, and her children are grown, so they don’t need her that much anymore and there is more to life than staying in a big castle.

“I hit the road with my time machine, and I am having a great time,” she said. “I don’t miss the castle.”

Elyse Stinman came dressed as the white rabbit, complete with ears and a black nose and was accompanied by the guest of honor, Alice.

“This is my actual face and my real nose,” she said. “I have the best sense of smell. You don’t even know. I’m always late.”

Vickie Lapre was dressed as Alice and was happy everyone was at her party.

“I am stepping out today, and I have to dress up with my top hat,” she said.

Stinman said the Steampunk event is cool and no one judges you.

“You can do whatever you want, and it’s an amazing community,” she said. “The costumes are visually amazing.”

Charles Peterson traveled down to the event from Santa Barbara County and had a compass on his outfit.

“It served me well, and I was able to find it,” he said. “This is our first year at Steampunk, and we enjoy the Victorian style dress you get to wear. It’s a lot of fun.”

He said his goggles are reminiscent of Jules Verne, with a mixture of Victorian and industrial styles.

“The welding goggles are part of that, and you can weld them to whatever you want,” Peterson said. “There are several genres in Steampunk, and this is one of them.”

Angelique Rockwood from Los Angeles was visiting her second Steampunk Festival in Oxnard and wanted to take advantage of the high tea.

“I love Steampunk, I write Steampunk, I’m a screenwriter, and I love how inventive people get with this, and it’s probably the only pure Steampunk festival around,” she said. “Tonight, is the Velveteen Band and tomorrow is Alice, so it’s a wonderful time.”

Published Steampunk Author Kiri Callaghan said Steampunk is something more than an aesthetic and not a world.

“It’s something you sprinkle on top,” she said. “You have fantasy and science fiction, and Steampunk is attached to it. I have a young adult novel that is loosely adapted from Alice in Wonderland that deals with the idea of clockwork and the Victorian times and technology where everything is steam-powered. We didn’t have diesel or anything like that yet.”

She said the premise pulls from the Jules Verne theme where anything is possible, but no one has “messed up the world with toxic technologies.”

“Steampunk pulls from typically a more Victorian day and age, and since I am dressed in a more feminine manner, it would be customary for me to wear a corset,” she said. “My lovely girlfriend here is dressed more in a more gentlemanlike fashion where corsets were no longer employed by men typically.”

Rockwood had magnifying glasses on her goggles that she bought at the Dickens Fair.

“It is a Victorian-era Festival down in Riverside, and you see Steampunk also bleed into there,” she said.

Callaghan said the magnifying glasses on Rockwood’s goggles are a tiny version of the enhanced feature of all procedural shows.

The two recently got dressed in Steampunk gear and went to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

“Let’s go Steampunk,” Callaghan said.