HANNIBAL, Mo. — Hannibal’s Big River Steampunk Festival won an award at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism last weekend in St. Charles.
The festival received the “Pathfinder Award,” which recognizes the efforts of individuals and organizations that successfully target specific niche markets in their tourism promotions.
A press release from the Missouri Division of Tourism said the Big River Steampunk Festival is described by Hannibal officials as “a cross between the Wild West, the Victorian Era and science fiction.”
The festival, now in its fifth year, is held each Labor Day weekend and is billed as a celebration of invention, art and science.
“The event attracts a creative group of attendees — many in costume — imagining what life would be like if the steam power of the Industrial Revolution fueled modern technology,” the release said.
“The festival was created in 2014 by Hannibal residents Lisa and Ken Marks in an effort to boost tourism during the holiday weekend and raise funds to support the Hannibal History Museum.”
The festival has grown each year. In 2017, the festival attracted an estimated 12,000 people from across the United States and from as far away as England and Australia.
The festival features costume contests, a historic homes tour, live music, a Vaudeville show and “tea with Queen Victoria.” Workshops and panel discussions are provided for attendees interested in learning more about steampunk.
The Division of Tourism said the festival’s economic impact last year totaled more than $1.1 million dollars.
The Missouri Division of Tourism — a division of the Missouri Department of Economic Development — works to market the Show-Me State as a destination for travelers and to increase the number of tourists and travel-related spending.
In the 2017 fiscal year, the agency said, Missouri attracted 42 million visitors and a record $16.8 billion in tourism-related spending.