Archive for October, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Contest

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with local merchants, invites the public to participate in the Community Jack-O’-Lantern Contest held from October 26-27, 2012 at the ATC Visitor Center, located at 799 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV. This event is free and open to the public.
Local community members are encouraged to carve a pumpkin at home and bring it to the ATC Visitor Center on Friday, October 26, 2012 from 9:00a.m. – 7:00p.m. or on Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m. All entries must be submitted by noon the day of the event and have the participant’s name and phone number written on the bottom of the pumpkin in order to be included in the contest.

Jack-o’-lanterns will be judged in the following age groups: 12 and under and 13 and up. Children 12 and under can choose to paint an image on their pumpkin, if preferred.

On Saturday, from 12:30p.m. – 4:00p.m., the public can vote for their top three favorite jack-o’-lanterns from each age group. Light refreshments will also be available. Winning submissions will be announced at 4:30p.m. Prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place from each age group. Contestants do not need to be present to accept their prize.

Jack-o-lantern entries will be on display later that evening in downtown Harpers Ferry from 6:00p.m. – 7:00p.m. on High Street. Light refreshments will also be available.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited to be a part of this event, as it’s a great opportunity for the local community members to come together and showcase their skills and talents,” said Javier Folgar, marketing and communications manager for the ATC. “The event is going to be lots of fun and an excellent way to introduce people to the Appalachian Trail, as well as to the local merchants in downtown Harpers Ferry.”


Title:   Community Jack-O’-Lantern Contest
Date: October 26-27, 2012
Location: ATC Visitor Center, 799 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
October 26 (9:00a.m. – 7:00p.m.)
October 27 (9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.)
Voting Period:
October 27 (12:30p.m. – 4:00p.m.)
Winners Announced:
October 27 (4:30p.m. – 5:00p.m.)
Jack-O’-Lantern Display
Date: October 27, 2012
Time: 6:00p.m. – 7:00p.m.
Location: High Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

This event is sponsored by the ATC, the Vintage Lady, Westwind Potters, the Village Shop at Harpers Ferry, Tenfold Fair Trade Collection and Ridgefield Farm and Orchard.

John Butler and the War of 1812

Title:  John Butler and the War of 1812
Date:   10/27/2012

Learn about African Americans in the War of 1812, specifically Harpers Ferry resident and free African American, John Butler, who served as a gunner on the US frigate United States in the naval victory against HMS Macedonian on Oct. 30, 1812. Includes recruiting for War of 1812 living history soldiers and civilians at Williamson’s Tavern and historic flintlock firing demonstration.

Location: Lower Town | Map Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Fee Information: $10.00 per vehicle for 3 days or $5.00 per person on foot or bicycle Contact Name: Information Center Contact Email: e-mail us Contact Phone Number: 304-535-6029

Defeat & Victory: The 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry

Title:  Defeat & Victory: The 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry
Date:  10/27/12

Discover how the record-setting surrender of over 12,700 Union soldiers led to freedom for 4 million people.

Location: Meet at Cavalier Heights Visitor Center Time: 2:00 PM to 2:45 PM Fee Information: $10.00 per vehicle for 3 days or $5.00 per person on foot or bicycle Contact Phone Number: 304-535-6298

Harpers Ferry from the Top, Down

Title:  Harpers Ferry from the Top, Down
Date:  10/28/12

A one mile walk from Camp Hill to Lower Town Harpers Ferry. From the inside of old mansions to the Appalachian Trail, this program offers tremendous views and hidden history.

Location: Meet at Cavalier Heights Visitor Center Time: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Fee Information: $10.00 per vehicle for 3 days or $5.00 per person on foot or bicycle Contact Phone Number: 304-535-6298

19th Century Dance and Music Traditions – Workshop

This workshop will teach and explore how 19th century music and dance traditions gave birth to American popular culture, through the exchange of African American and European American instruments and steps.

Title: “FLATFOOT, FIDDLE, & BANJO WEEKEND: 19th Century Traditions for 21st Century Dancers and Musicians”

Date: November 10th & 11th
Time: 9am to 6pm

Location: participants will be notified of the location upon registration

Instructors: Matthew Olwell, Emily Oleson, and April Masten

Description: This workshop will teach and explore how 19th century music and dance traditions gave birth to American popular culture, through the exchange of African American and European American instruments and steps.

Workshop fee: $75.00 for registered participants

Class size: Limit of 30 participants

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Sucker for Big Bands

Received this press release from Brunswick:

Big Band Dance Celebrates Historic 80th Brunswick Veterans Parade

(Brunswick, Maryland) –  The Big Band Dance Salute to the historic  80th Brunswick Veterans Day Parade will take place on Saturday, November 3 at the American Legion,18 South Maple Avenue in downtown Brunswick, Maryland.  The dance is from 7 – 11pm.  18 piece Swing Time Big Band will play tunes from the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s and more!  If you prefer, come dressed in period costume, attire, or military uniform, if it still fits!  Legion kitchen opens at 6pm, offering home-cooked meals and refreshments. Cash bar. Minimum age: 21.  Tickets: $10.00.  Advance ticket sales, call 240-508-3049 or events@brunswickmd.gov.  Credit cards accepted. The Big Band Dance Salute is sponsored by the City of Brunswick and Stedman-Keenan American Legion Post 96 downtown Brunswick. 

The tribute to our Veterans continues with The 80th Brunswick Veterans Day Parade which gets underway the next day, Sunday, November 4 at 1pm  opening ceremony at Square Corner Park, downtown Brunswick.  Parade kickoff is at 2pm from East to West Potomac Streets.  The 80th Brunswick Veterans Day Parade is a City of Brunswick sponsored event and open to the public – rain or shine.  Other parade sponsors include: Potomac Edison/First Energy Company, 84 Lumber, PNC Bank and Yellow Cab Company. Info. 240-508-3049 or events@brunswickmd.govwww.brunswickmd.gov. Click on events.

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At the September Shameless Steam event, Larry Gillick referred to an author I hadn’t considered in many years – Marshall McLuhan. Way back when, in Wired magazine’s Patron Saint’s distant past, I felt incredibly cool knowing who he was thanks to an undergraduate communications class. He comes to haunt me in the steampunk realm with his book, “The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man” copyrighted in 1951. In his preface to the original edition, McLuhan writes, “[o]urs is the first age in which many thousands of the best-trained individual minds have made it a full-time business to get inside the collective public mind.”  He continues, “Why not assist the public to observe consciously the drama which is intended to operate upon it unconsciously?” Then he uses Edgar Allan Poe’s work “A Descent Into the Maelstrom” to illustrate how the main character studied the whirlpool in to avoid personal catastrophe.

I made, also, three important observations. The first was, that as a general rule, the larger the bodies were, the more rapid their descent; – the second, that, between two masses of equal extent, the one spherical, and the other of any other shape, the superiority in speed of descent was with the sphere; – the third, that, between two masses of equal size, the one cylindrical, and the other of any other shape, the cylinder was absorbed the more slowly.

The version I have is the Fiftieth Anniversary edition. If you are not familiar with his work, consider these quotes:


To what collective prayer is this amalgam of noble savage and the aristocratic sleuth an answer?

Is it just an accident that Tarzan, the nature force, is unclogged by family life? Just another cowboy?

The Boy Scout to end Nature Lore?

Is Superman’s jungle of criminals nearer to us than Tarzan’s jungle of beasts?

Do I think a lot about Sherlock Holmes? Not really. But I can’t seem to get enough! Why? McLuhan thought enough about him to offer his own analysis.

From Da Vinci to Holmes

Why are both scientist and artist crackpots and pariahs I the popular imagination?

Holmes, Renaissance titan or Last of the Mohicans ?

Watson, wife or mother of the virtuoso of crime?

The sleuth cult foreshadows the arrival of the police state?

Wow. That hadn’t crossed my mind at all.

Then he goes on to embarrass me with that which I have not read:

The popular sleuth thus offers a window onto a complex psychological landscape. This landscape includes the figure of the superman as he has taken his stand on all the moral, political, and scientific issues of the West from Da Vinci to Holmes. It also includes the platform at Elsinore and the ghost-stricken figure of Hamlet. Hamlet the Dane saw one ghost. The modern Hamlet stares at a whole assembly. And not least among these is Philip Marlowe, Chandler’s echo of Christopher Marlowe’s supermen Tamburlaine and Dr. Faustus, that Nietzschean politician and scientist.

Steam at Harper’s Ferry invites you to write a 500 word blog post on along the lines of McLuhan’s book “The Mechanical Bride,” either fiction or non-fiction. Please contact Steam via email for further information.

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Steam at Harper’s Ferry is showing the work of  two exciting artists in the Gallery starting this month, Josh Aterovis and Mark Schumaker. Josh has a sister who lived in Bolivar. He lives in Baltimore and is an author and jewelry maker. I am really impressed with his attention to detail and his ability to capture the steampunk aesthetic in his tie clips and belt buckles. I saw Mark’s door knockers at the 2012 Artomatic held in Crystal City, Virginia and was blown away with his display. Both artists’ pieces are one of a kind.

Josh Aterovis Steampunk Jewelry

Josh Aterovis is a published author and artist who has been in the arts in one form or another for over 15 years. Drawn to all things Victoriana, antique, industrial, mechanical, and clockwork from an early age, steampunk was the perfect convergence of all these elements. He has four books published in his acclaimed Killian Kendall mystery series, and is currently working on several literary steampunk projects in addition to his Steampunk Blacks Sheep line of jewelry, accessories and art. (He told me why rubies are in watches to help describe his work derived from vintage timepieces.)

Mark Schumaker Door Knockers

Mark Schumaker is a Washington area government worker with a passion for art on the side. He has many different interests in art mediums and, as he says, “I just try to make things that I would like.” Which door knocker is your favorite? Can you tell which one is mine?

Brunswick Railroad Days October 6 & 7, 2012 – Thoughts

Even though I wasn’t able to go to Railroad Days this year, I was pleased that so many friends and neighbors took the opportunity to ride the train from Brunswick to Harper’s Ferry and back again. I would love to see something like this for Olde Tyme Christmas – maybe extending to Frederick and Martinsburg!

Halloween 2012

Despite “technical difficulties” (code words for the stairs) Steam at Harper’s Ferry was able to pull together the fall installlation. Check out special Halloween offers in town as well as late night hours the Saturday before Halloween and October 31.

Steam at Harper’s Ferry
180 High Street, 1-B,
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1292
Harpers Ferry, WV  25425

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I had a great time talking with people who road the MARC train between Brunswick and Harper’s Ferry. I finally found the book I was looking for all weekend to confirm some alleged Brunswick “facts” I imparted on the public. Here are a few of them:

Did you know that –

Brunswick was named Berlin at the time the B&O built a depot there?

Between Point of Rocks and Harper’s Ferry there were only two small towns: Berlin and Knoxville?

In 1832, Harper’s Ferry was a city of about 3,000 inhabitants?

In 1834, B&O began railroad service to Harper’s Ferry?

By 1859, there were two passenger trains a day between Baltimore and Wheeling named the Wheeling Express, running at a speed of between 30 and 35 mph?

All this and more can be found in the book “The Railroad Came – and a Special Community Grew in Brunswick, Md.” by Peter Maynard published in 2008.  It is an interesting little book which reads more like a journal and provides some delightful insight to the special relationship between the Harper’s Ferry and Brunswick.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!



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We are celebrating our one year anniversary this month. We closed out September with a bang – the Steampunk Leisure exhibit opened and Steam held its inaugural Shameless Steam business series event.

Brunswick Railroad Days October 6 & 7, 2012

The Harpers Ferry Merchants Association, of which Steam at Harper’s Ferry is a member, is promoting Brunswick, Maryland’s annual Railroad Days celebration. If you are interested in taking a train from Harper’s Ferry to Brunswick for the Railroad Days activities, drop by Tenfold Fair Trade on Potomac Street to purchase tickets. Participating Harper’s Ferry Merchants Association members will have information about Railroad Days at their establishments. Check out the Brunswick Railroad Museum if you go and see if the Harpers Ferry extension is complete. It is a wonderful exhibit.

Halloween 2012

Steam at Harper’s Ferry is coordinating a special installation for the fall which should be up by Halloween. Also, check out special Halloween offers in town as well as late night hours the Saturday before Halloween and October 31.

Steam at Harper’s Ferry is Seeking Artists

As you may know, Steam at Harper’s Ferry advertises a call to artists for specific themed exhibits on a quarterly basis. Starting in November, artists who are interested in displaying their work on commission between exhibits should contact Steam at Harper’s Ferry directly. Steam is particularly interested in art that “works” in the gallery space. Artists are encouraged to come to Steam before contacting us. Information about submitting work is available on the website.

Shameless Steam – March

The next Shameless Steam arts-related business series will be held in March. If you are interested in promoting your arts-related business or your own work, please see the website under the post “Call for Presentations!” or follow the links under the “Events” tab.

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