Steampunk Road Trip – The International Steampunk Symposium


Steampunk is international in scale and community, and Steampunk Hands Around the World celebrates that global nature each year, bringing all of us a little closer together, sharing that even though we may live different lives, we’re similar in many ways.

With that in mind, our next stop is The International Steampunk Symposium. Where we are talking with Aloysius Fox, the Show Director (aka Con Chair).


Hello Aloysius! Thanks for greeting us on our road trip. Would you share where the Symposium is located, and when is it being held this year?

Aloysius Fox: Greetings to all of you! The Symposium is held in Cincinnati, Ohio and will be April 27th to 29th, 2018.


The Symposium has been around quite awhile, compared to many other conventions. How did it all start?

Aloysius Fox: The Symposium evolved from a combination of the local Cincinnati Steampunk scene and the social media site Steampunk Empire, both of which were cofounded by myself. In 2012, the first Symposium was actually called the Steampunk Empire Symposium, but in 2015 underwent a name change to become the International Steampunk Symposium. Each year the Symposium has grown in numbers and scope, but it still manages to retain that intimate feel from which attendees leave with many new friends.


One of the best aspects of any steampunk event is meeting new people and making new friends. What is on the schedule to keep those new friends entertained and educated?

Aloysius Fox: The convention has many of the usual panels, workshops, bands, and session that you would typically associate with a Steampunk convention, but since its inception, the show’s signature event has been the Steampunk Olympiad. As part of the weekend’s charity fundraiser for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health), the Olympiad is a series of challenges that pit regional airships against each other in gentlemanly and eccentric sports such as RC Dirigible Races, Umbrella Fencing, Nerf Dueling, and various others. Attendees can enter the Olympiad as individuals, or as part of a team to collect points for their airships and see who wins the trophy at closing ceremonies.


Good fun for a good cause. Who have been some of the notable guests attending the Symposium over the years?

Aloysius Fox: The Symposium was thrilled to have KW Jeter as a guest of honor in 2017 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of him coining the term “Steampunk,” and share his experiences as prolific science fiction and fantasy writer. Over the past six Symposiums, there have been many great authors, artists, makers, and performers to join the show. Some have become part of the Symposium family, such as author Leanna Renee Hieber being the show’s Author in Residence, and author Emilie P Bush becoming the main MC of the Symposium last year.


They are definitely notable people! What can a fellow steampunk expect as a first time attendee?

Aloysius Fox: Many new friends! The Symposium is one of the most welcoming and friendly Steampunk conventions you can find. A popular event on Friday afternoon is the Tea Stroll for which different airships and groups run tea tables and give out all sorts of tea, cookies, cakes, and other delights. People mingle, meet old friends, meet new friends, and the whole thing sets the tone for the rest of the weekend. The weekend’s program is packed full of workshops, panels, dances, music, parties, gaming, and more . . . it can be rather overwhelming for a newcomer, but all is laid out clearly in the program book, on posters, and on the website 


Excellent! What is the best way to stay up to date on news and pending shenanigans?

Aloysius Fox: Each Friday on , the Symposium publishes its weekly countdown to the upcoming show with a summary of all that was added that week. Links to these updates appear on social media, but mostly on Facebook at


Get your dirigibles and umbrellas ready, travelers, and make your road trip plans now to attend the International Steampunk Symposium.

Until our next stop, follow the whole steampunk road trip on the Master Link List

Published in: on February 26, 2018 at 8:11 pm  Comments (2)