WhimsyCon: Denver’s Steampunk and Costuming Convention
On the first weekend of this month, Shiny Garden hosted its second annual WhimsyCon at the Hyatt Regency in the Denver Tech Center. WhimsyCon is a family friendly convention centered around steampunk and costuming, which was clearly displayed in its weekend-long events. The convention’s schedule included everything from prop building and tea dueling to featured fairies and mermaids.
The convention staff partnered with four groups to bring adventure and imagination to their three-day event: Airship Iron Opal, the Denver Victorian Steampunk Society, the Mermaid Ara and her mermaid friends, and Festival of Faerie.
Airship Iron Opal is a NOCO based social airship for all ages. As they say on their social media, “our mission is to share the good word of STEAMpunk in all its glory with all who will listen.” Their presence at the convention included tables full of steampunk props and paraphernalia, including a steampunk storm trooper helmet! When they’re not flaunting their delightful accessories, this group hosts steampunk themed events around Colorado. They can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/AirshipIronOpal.
Airship Iron Opal representatives
Steampunk storm trooper helmet
The Denver Victorian Steampunk Society (DVSS) hosted costumed tea events throughout the weekend, complete with a professional and in-character Victorian serving staff. They advertise themselves as “an assemblage of Unique and Remarkable Persons who congregate regularly for the purposes of hobnobbing, exploring, nibbling, noshing, dueling, and of course, the dignified yet enthusiastic quaffing of Tea.” The DVSS hosts semi-monthly events in the Denver area, in which people are invited to dress up in their best Victorian garb and hit the town together. To find out more, you can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/victoriansteam/.
Guests enjoying a tea party hosted by DVSS
Mermaids Ara, Tadpole, Jennifer, and Trina flaunted their fins for all to see, happy to talk and take photos with attendees throughout the weekend. “Mermaid Ara is available for parties and events and would love to share her Neverland magic!” (https://www.facebook.com/aratheneverlandmermaid/). Mermaid Trina can also be booked for parties through her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MermaidTrinaCo/.
From left to right: Tadpole, Trina, Jennifer, and Ara
Mermaid Ara at the Mermaid’s Lagoon
Mermaid Trina with her ukulele
Festival of Faerie was present all weekend as well, donning their fairy wings and pixie dust. Their mission is to promote “imagination, costumes, fairy-tales and adventures for all.” The group began in Lafayette in 2012, and now puts on an annual festival. This year’s festival will be held on June 1st. More information can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/FestivalofFaerie/.
Other than the four groups present, WhimsyCon hosted events and held panels throughout the weekend that can be separated into six categories, or “tracks”: Steampunk, Costuming, Literary, Makers, Art, and Children. By categorizing panels in this way, WhimsyCon hopes that, whatever an attendee’s interest, there will be plenty to do and learn all weekend long.
In addition to offering a whole lot of fun, WhimsyCon has partnered with a couple of nonprofit organizations to make the fun available to everyone. To begin with, the convention is hosted by Shiny Garden, “a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, established in 2016 with the purpose of creating inclusive events that celebrate diversity and bring all fans together,” (https://shinygarden.org/). Shiny Garden also works with Big Brothers / Big Sisters and Con or Bust, both nonprofits that help get people to conventions who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
Convention Head Julie Nakao leaves convention goers with this message: “We want people to be accepted for who they are, where they are. We want people to put aside our differences, so we can learn from each other, and because of that, be better together. We just want a space for people to do and BE awesome!”
If you missed WhimsyCon this year, there is no need to fret! They are currently selling tickets for next year on their website: https://www.whimsycon.org/. If you can’t wait a whole year, Shiny Garden hosts two other incredible conventions: Myths and Legends Con in August (https://www.malcondenver.org/) and their gaming convention Hexacon in January (https://www.hexacondenver.org/).