Things To Do

First Friday

Held on the first Friday of each month, this recurring local cultural and social event showcases the visual arts and artists in our downtown area plus promotions at individual businesses who extend their hours of operation. During the warmer months, outside entertainers from musicians to jugglers and even fire blowers are brought in to enhance the downtown experience.

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TeslaCoil Demonstration

What it is: Tesla coils are named after their inventor, Nikola Tesla, who improved on a number of existing ideas to create high-frequency high-voltage electricity. This particular coil stands roughly 7′ tall, with all of the major components except the capacitor bank similar to what Tesla would have used in the 1890’s.

Under ideal conditions, this coil has produced 12 to 15 foot long arcs. Planned demonstrations include multiple 20–30 second displays of electrical power. Please note that weather and wind (and occasionally temperamental gadgetry) can affect the performance. We shall hope for the best!

Demonstration to be held on top of the Monroe/Market parking deck.

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Steampunk Soiree

Sponsors: Fox-n-Hounds, Nourish, Erin Mac Photography, TLR Associates

*Ticketed Event*

Dance the night away in Steampunk style, in this wonderful restored historic building that’s the hottest new party venue in downtown. Heavy hor d’oeuvres, live music by The Shanties, a cash bar, and photo booth. This is a premium ticketed event, limited to 75 general admission tickets. The ‘Ticket to Ride’ all-inclusive pass upgrades you to VIP seating at this event plus one drink ticket.

Photo Op Area

Have your photo taken by professional photographers in front of our special backdrop. A perfect way to commemorate your first Cogs & Corsets event! Photos printed while you wait. $5, cash and carry.

Promenade on the Square

Show off your finery in a delightful promenade around the courthouse square during the Farmer’s Market. What is the point of dressing up if not to show it off! We’ll gather at the entrance of the McLean County History Museum for a jaunt across the lawn for all to see.

Lady Erika Jarden’s Tea Room

Sponsor: Beezer Family Honey

Relax in style in Lady Erika Jarden’s tea room, located in the restored 1903 courthouse of the Museum of History. Enjoy selections of fortifying tea, biscuits, and your delightful hostess, Lady Erika herself. Purchase your Tea Room pass ($5) online or on-site at the registration booth for open access to the room during the festival and three fortifying rounds of tea and biscuits.

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Historic Mansion Tours & Tea

*Ticketed Event*

Choose from two tour times (max of 25 tickets per tour time). A shuttle will take you from downtown the short distance to the David Davis Mansion where you’ll experience a guided tour of this glorious 1872 home of Judge Davis, friend of Abraham Lincoln. Then you’ll shuttle off to the nearby Vrooman Mansion Bed & Breakfast for a short tour of this 1869 historic mansion, followed by a seated tea in the Parlor, Foyer and Music Room. Relax with some sweet and savory treats plus a variety of beverages before heading back to the downtown.

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Farm-to-Fork Epiphany Dinner

*Ticketed Event*

Limited to 80 tickets. This ‘speakeasy-style venue’ is the newest location for Bloomington-Normal’s most innovative farm-to-fork restaurant. Epiphany Farms practices sustainable, beyond organic, environmentally-friendly farming techniques to provide fresh, seasonal local food that’s as gorgeous as it is delicious. Their award-winning chefs prepare seasonal dishes with ingredients grown on their own farms located just outside Bloomington. Experience this amazing tribute to local food, surrounded by your Steampunk friends. Buffet style. Drink tickets may be purchased on-site. (Just a quick 2-block walk to the burlesque show, so attendees are able to do both!) 

Burlesque Show

*Ticketed Event*

21+ only. Lock & Key Burlesque is Peoria, Illinois’ very own professional burlesque troupe, bringing us a full vaudeville-inspired show full of class and tease. They will surely knock your socks off with their performance skills: tick whips, hula hoops, singing, dancing, magic and more!

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Vrooman Mansion Brunch

*Ticketed Event*

Limited to 31 general admission tickets. End your Cogs & Corsets weekend with an elegant plated brunch in the Parlor, Foyer and Music Rooms of this historic 1869 mansion. You’ll enjoy a variety of baked goods and a mixed fresh seasonal fruit cup, followed by the entrée of quiche Florentine with Crepes filled with a mascarpone cheese filling and topped with fresh mixed berry sauce and a side of bacon & sausage. Iced water, orange juice, coffee & tea available for beverages.  

Contests

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Costume Contest

Sponsor: Specs Around Town

Show off your Steampunk finery and fashion sense in our costume contest. Prizes awarded for several categories plus crowd favorite! Please see our rules here. Entry form is available here or on-site at the Registration booth.

Makers’ Faire

Sponsors: Inside Out Accessible ArtVrooman Mansion Bed & Breakfast, Joann Goetzinger Art Studio

It’s time to tap into your creative genius or latent mad scientist inner self! Registration forms are available here or at the Registration booth at the festival.

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Splendid Teapot Racing

Sponsors: Eaton Studio Gallery, Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood Association

A competition like no other! Build your own creative Teapot Racer from a teapot and an RC chassis, then turn it loose on our obstacle course for a timed run through the Ramp of Doom, Tunnel of Terror, and other hazards. Awards for achievements great and small! Please see rules and Teapot Racer guidelines here.