There’s so much to do!

Cogs & Corsets Steampunk Happening brings you all the fun and frivolity you expect from a Steampunk event, surrounded by the historic architecture of Downtown Bloomington, Illinois. Our event has activities and fun for all ages, and most of it is FREE!

Now in our fourth year, Cogs & Corsets just keeps getting better.  This is a night you don’t want to miss!

Check out the 2021 schedule of events here.

Our presentations and workshops are listed here.

Peruse our list of fabulous vendors here.

… and check out the many contests and competitions below!


Courtesy of Michelle Deck

Lady Lyric d’Avalon, the Time-Traveling Trouvère

Lady Lyric d’Avalon, the Time-Traveling Trouvère, is Michelle Deck’s Steampunk Muse whose journal inspires Michelle’s songwriting on her latest ChamberSteamPop project, “Unplayed: The Chronicles of Lady Lyric.” Lady Lyric will be sharing these epic songs and captivating stories — like her friend Marie Antoinette’s scandalous lavender escapades! Explore more about Lady Lyric and her time-traveling Quest to explore the symbiotic nature of music at

Michelle’s original songs have been featured on nationwide podcasts and internet radio (not to mention hundreds of diverse live performances and her extensive discography), and she’s twice been recognized as one of the region’s up-and-coming original artists at the Southwest Missouri New Music Showcase. Her original song “Unplayed” (title cut of her “Unplayed” ChamberSteamPop EP) will be featured in independent film “Pray They Stand Down” (about Veterans, PTSD, and service dogs), slated for nationwide release in 2021/2022.


Street Buskers

Throughout the downtown area look for street buskers filling the air with music. Don’t hesitate to tip them is you like what you hear!

If you would like to be a busker during Cogs & Corsets, please come set up on any sidewalk that does not block foot traffic from entering a store. We just ask that you don’t set up on Jefferson street. Acoustic groups are preferred.


Specialty drinks at Mystic Kitchen

Mystic Kitchen has created special drinks just for Cogs & Corset! In addition to their wide selection of beer, wine and soft drinks, you can try one of these limited time temptations:

  • “Sparkling Orange Punk” with Bravo TacoMa Punk Spicy Orange Liqueur, Titos Vodka, Orange Bitters & Crisp Champagne & orange peel, or
  • “Down the Rabbit Hole”- Earl gray tea, blueberry syrup , sugar cube ( adding a shot of Lucid Absinthe is available)

You can find Mystic Kitchen on the corner of Jefferson and Center streets, just off the Splendid Teapot Racing course.


Photo by David Huber

The Costume Accessories Contest

Dust off your accessories and join in the Costume Accessories Contest.

You won’t need to be in full regalia to enter this year!  This year our contest for accessories only. The categories will be for Best Hat, Best Goggles, Best Mask, and Best Overall Accessory.

Read through the Costume Contest rules for the categories for 2021.

Advance online registration in no longer available. Please go to the Registration Desk on the corner of Jefferson and Main Streets to register.

Photo by David Huber

Splendid Teapot Racing

Splendid Teapot Racing is the ultimate in remote-control racing. You’ve got RC’s, you’ve got tea, and you’ve got the chasm of doom to leap over. Best of all, you’ve got crowd cheering you on. What more could you ask for?

Check out the official rules and grab your RC to start practicing. Advance online registration in no longer available. Please go to the Registration Desk on the corner of Jefferson and Main Streets to register.

Steampunk Maker Faire

Photo by David Huber

Steampunk Maker Faire

Embrace your inner mad scientist! Grab some widgets and doodads and create something the world has never seen before!

Advance online registration in no longer available. Please go to the Hangar Art Co. gallery at 105 W Jefferson St to register.

Family Fun

Photo by David Huber

Nerf Gun Dueling

Join us on the north-west lawn of the Museum of History to try your hand a Nerf Gun Dueling!

Chicagoland Steampunk Society officiates your Nerf Dueling competition. Dueling’s dark history in the 10th century is all too real, but our done in good, safe fun. A signed waiver will be required to participate (available on site).

Photo by David Huber

Dirigible Races

A Cogs & Corsets original! Challenge a friend to see who can move their dirigible the fastest along the airways. Those who wield their bellows the fastest will prevail!


Free STEAM Activities

The McLean County Museum of History and Little Art School will be showcasing free, family-friendly STEAM activities. Express your creativi-tea with tea painting and decorating your own Steampunk-inspired picture frame. And more!


The Great Airship Hunt

To celebrate the return of Cogs and Corsets, Downtown businesses will hide an image of an airship in their business for customers to find as part of the great Airship Hunt for the June First Friday. When you find the airship, you will receive a prize or a discount from the participating business. The full list of participating business is coming soon.

Vrooman Mansion Breakfast Buffet on the Lawn


9:00 – 11:00 am

Join us for a lovely breakfast buffet on the lawn of the Vrooman Mansion.

Find more information and tickets here.

Family Fun at the McLean County Museum of History

The McLean County Museum of History is offering several fun family events.

  • Funbelievable Balloons will be on the Museum Plaza from 5-7 p.m. creating balloon creatures, hats, accessories and more!
  • Compassionate Crumbs will also be popping up at the Museum/Visitors Center from 5-8 with sweet, Steampunk-inspired treats.

Online Webinars


The Skinny on the Scanties: A History of Women’s Underwear

Join Susan Hartzold, Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the McLean County Museum of History, for a fascinating, illustrated program about what gets put on underneath women’s clothes on Saturday, June 5 at 10:00 a.m.

Ever wondered about the history, purpose, and meaning of women’s undergarments. Well here’s your chance to get a revealing peak at what’s been worn beneath our outer garments through the centuries and the not so hidden meanings they sometimes communicated.

This free webinar is part of the featured events of the annual Cogs and Corsets: A Central Illinois Steampunk Happening. To register for this program, please go to


Urban Transit- Moving in the City

As countries urbanized and industrialized, a dilemma arose—how to move about efficiently. Transit systems were the solution, evolving from horse drawn omnibuses to cable railroads, elevated trains and the ubiquitous clanging trolley car. And throughout this evolution far-fetched schemes developed, political machinations followed, and early transit equipment highlighted craft work, with inlaid wood, elaborate paint schemes and glass ornamentation.  Join us on Saturday, June 5 at 1:00 p.m. for this free, webinar presented by labor historian, Mike Matejka.

Matejka serves on the McLean County Museum of History’s board and is vice-president of the Illinois Labor History Society, along with many other community positions. His father was a St. Louis transit worker, beginning in 1947 as a trolley motorman, and a 50-year member of the Amalgamated Association of Street & Electric Railway Men & Motor Coach Employees of the United States & Canada Division 788.

This free webinar is part of the featured events of the annual Cogs and Corsets: A Central Illinois Steampunk Happening. To register for this program, please go to

Pre-event Activities


Mini Steampunk Top Hats: Take & Make Craft for Teens

Take & Make Craft for Teens at the Bloomington Public Library
• May 1-29
• Teens in Grades 6-12
• Registration required; 40 teens max
Teens in Grades 6-12 can get ready for the Cogs & Corsets Steampunk Festival* in Downtown Bloomington with this take-and-make craft!
Registration is required and is limited to 40 teens. A craft kit will be reserved for those who register and will be available for pickup through May 29 at either curbside pickup or the Adult Services Desk. Beginning May 1, registration can be completed online at, by calling 309.590.6168, or in person at the Adult Services Desk.
Craft kits will contain a mini top hat, some metal cogs, and glue. Teens will need to provide any other decorating material they want to use. No online instruction – neither pre-recorded nor live – will be provided.
* Teens who wear their hat to the McLean County Museum of History booth during the Festival will receive a small prize.


Steampunk Coloring Contest – all ages

Steampunk Coloring Contest at the Bloomington Public Library
May 3-28

Age Categories:
• Age 5 and younger
• 6-11 years
• 12-17 years
• Age 18+

Join us in a Steampunk coloring contest to help decorate for the Cogs and Corsets Steampunk Festival!
Anyone can participate, and each picture submitted in the coloring contest doubles as an entry into a drawing for prizes (one submission per person).
There will be a drawing for each of the following groups: kids 5 and younger, 6-11 years, 12-17 years, and age 18+. Prizes include gift cards to local businesses and the Library’s Used Book Shoppe. Winners will be notified on Wednesday, June 2.Coloring pages can be picked up at the Children’s Services Desk or the Adult Services Desk at the Library. Coloring pages can al

so be accessed and printed from home using these links:

  • Coloring sheet for kids age 0-11 – (children are asked to color the cat)
  • Coloring sheets for those age 12+ – (ages 12+ can color any of the 5 options at this link)
Colored pages are due by 5pm on Friday, May 28!
Coloring pages can be submitted to Library staff at the Children’s Desk (ages 0-11) and the Adult Services Desk (ages 12+), or they can be photographed or scanned and emailed to (for ages 0-11) or (for ages 12+).
Entries will be displayed at the Library until the week of the Steampunk Festival, when they will be moved to storefront windows downtown.