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 2022 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!



The Great Airship Race Murder Mystery Dinner

Friday, June 3 – Doors open at 6:00 pm, Dinner at 6:30 pm, Murder at 7:00 pm

At the Epiphany Farms Restaurant – the Bell Tower room 

Tickets are $57

It’s 1898, and the Great Airship Race has started with competitors flying westward towards the finish line in San Francisco and a $50,000 purse. But when the captain of the front runner and her wealthy benefactor are found poisoned – while in midair – murder is the only answer. The race has been halted and all the competitors have been called together to investigate this heinous crime. Can you figure out who-done-it?

Cogs & Corsets and the St. Louis Mystery Company invite you to the Great Airship Race Murder Mystery. You’ll be dining in the Bell Tower room of the Epiphany Farm Restaurant while you try to detect which character is trying to get away with murder.

Dinner includes your choice of roast chicken or beef bulgogi, salad, vegetable, mashed potatoes and a soft drink. There will be a cash bar. The Bell Tower room is on the second floor and no elevator is available.

Thank you to our sponsors: the Jan Elfline and Drake Zimmerman Fund at the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.

Tickets can only be purchased online and must be purchased by May 27, 2022.



Dine with the Dead: Cemetery Customs and Traditions of Days Gone By

Back by popular demand! Enjoying a picnic in a cemetery was not always a taboo activity. Quite the contrary—a graveside lunch was a leisure activity for many. People often dined while visiting their dearly departed, and city residents regularly took advantage of cemeteries for strolls and carriage rides too. Beginning in the mid-1800s, cemeteries expanded beyond the confines of churchyards filled with foreboding monuments that reminded us to fear death and not to sin, and evolved into attractive gardens located outside of cities designed with relaxation and reflection in mind.

In the spirit (pun intended) of the age, enjoy a picnic lunch on the beautiful grounds of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery (one of Bloomington’s oldest cemeteries) and embark on a one-hour guided tour to learn about funerary customs of the Victorian-era, explore the types of monuments that populate the cemetery, and hear stories of some of the McLean County citizens who reside there. Candace Summers, Director of Community Education at the McLean County Museum of History, will facilitate the tour. Come experience how cemetery life is for the living!

$25 Tickets includes tour, lunch, beverages. Please reply to an email that will be sent to you after the purchase as to your choice of box lunch.

Three box lunch choices:

  • Turkey Club on Sourdough bread
  • Chicken Salad on 12 grain bread
  • House salad loaded with veggies (vegetarian option) with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Each lunch comes with chips, a sugar cookie and old fashioned lemonade/bottled water. All lunches are provided by Shannon’s Café Downtown.

Thanks to our sponsors – The Painted Wraith Curiosity Shoppe in downtown Bloomington, IL and the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.

Tickets can only be purchased online and must be purchased by May 27, 2022.


Photo by Pamela Eaton

The Tea Room

Featuring the Tea Lady

Sponsored in part by Bloomington Spiceworks 

At the Eaton Studio & Gallery – 411 N Center St, Bloomington

Enjoy the delicious teas of the Bloomington Spiceworks while sitting among the art of Herb Eaton. It’s a place to converse, rest for a while and meet new friends. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the door. The $10 admission gives you a full access pass to the tea room to visit any time while it is open. Tea room hours are Friday 4 pm-8 pm and Saturday 9 am to 4 pm.

Photo provided by Tom Kirk

Tom Kirk: Home and Studio Tour

The amazing and fantastical work of Tom Kirk must be seen to be believed. Scrap parts nearly come alive into mythical beasts. Discarded machinery is now used to build another world. Tom Kirk is generously opening his space to us on Saturday, June 4, 9 am – 2 pm.

Tom Kirk’s home and studio are located at 1905 Garling Dr, Bloomington. Patrons will have to get their own transportation to and from the Home and Studio.

In a second location south of downtown Bloomington, is Tom’s sculpture garden. This is open 24/7 so you can stop by anytime. It is located at 410 S Madison Street. Read more about this endeavor in the Pantagraph.

A Steamy Night at Jazz Upfront

Let’s finish off the weekend with a night at Jazz Upfront. We’ll be able to burn off some steam as we dance the night away. Anyone in steampunk attire gets in free and gets a free drink coupon (beer, wine or soft drink). Located at 107 W. Front Street, Jazz Upfront is the home to Jazz and Blues in Bloomington/Normal. Festivities start at 6 pm and end when you’re tired or the bar closes – whichever comes first.


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.


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 2022.

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 19th 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 on Friday evening. Express your creativi-tea with tea painting and decorating your own Steampunk-inspired picture frame. Then the Children’s Discovery Museum will be on the square on Saturday to bring more free, fun activities.


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.

The Zoo Lady and Her Crew

The Zoo Lady is back and has brought her friends! There will be balloon animals, henna tattooing and free face painting.