The gunslinging and saloon dancing at Old Tucson might look a little more anachronistic the weekend of the ninth annual Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention. Thousands visited the longtime theme park and zip line for the event, some from as far away as Germany and New Zealand, to share their affection for steampunk, the science fiction subgenre that combines Old West and Victorian history and culture with futuristic steam-powered technology.
Jason Drotman, owner of the convention, said the con has gone from a couple hundred attendees when it first started to one of the largest events of its kind in the country.
“There is no other place quite like Old Tucson, nothing as grand or historic, to host an event like this,” Drotman said. “People love the feel of it all.”
The idea for the steampunk convention initially emerged from meetings held by the Arizona Steampunk Society in Phoenix more than a decade ago. Drotman, who was at those original meetings and still lives in Phoenix, said the majority of his team now resides in Tucson, as do many of the attendees.
Tucsonan Cassandra Sparrold Shute, 37, has been coming to Wild Wild West Con since Year 2.
Up to that point, Sparrold had not given steampunk much thought. A friend invited her to the convention. Sparrold, who works as a middle school teacher and has served in several positions with Wild Wild West Con, was immediately smitten with what the steampunk convention had to offer. “It was a natural transition for me,” she said. Sparrold said the steampunk community is a tight community. She considers many of the attendees of Wild Wild West Con friends for life.
Old Tucson and Outlaw Zipline! The 2020 Seampunk event comes alive!
This video capture the event at Outlaw Zipline and Old Tucson during the Steampunk Convention. The entire convention itself was really fantastic. This video show only a bit of that magic!!