"Mentors" and Entertainers
Mentors and Makers (scroll down for musicians and entertainers)

You’ve seen him on “Pawn Stars”, meet him in person at Big River! Billed as “The inimitable Renaissance Man”, Doc is a veteran film, stage and TV personality, dancer, singer, college professor, occultist, champion tea dueler – a multilayered entertainer popular throughout the Steampunk culture. He is the founder of The Steampunk Imaginarium, a museum in Las Vegas, and host of the Steamathon Convention. Look for Doc Phineas all around the Steampunk Festival, there’s no telling where he may turn up!




Dr. Phineas T. Kastle

Las Vegas, Nevada

Thomas has been at the forefront of the steampunk movement since the 1980s. His custom prop and costume workshop, formerly known as Brute Force Leather and Fallen Angel Fashions, first started making corsets and costume pieces back in 1996, "...because there was so much badly-made, mass-produced rubbish out there," Thomas says. "We wanted to show the world that craftsmanship was still alive."


Thomas continues, "Supporting American industries and workers is very important to us. All of our materials, including fabric, metal, leather, and acrylic are made in the United States or imported from Sheffield, England. We do not outsource any of our labor to other countries. Even the fabric is milled in Pennsylvania. "


In 2015, Thomas was one of the four experts on the GSN show "Steampunk'd" and continues to be a leading authority of all things Steampunk, featured in festivals and conventions throughout the world.


Stop by and meet Thomas at his lair on Main Street or at one of the many panels and seminars he'll be hosting at Big River Steampunk Festival. Also, be sure to check out Thomas Willeford's books "Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos" and "The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide" (McGraw-Hill), the best-selling steampunk how-to books on the market.





Thomas Dean Willeford

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

James Neathery

Nashville, TN

James Neathery began working on small leather projects as a hobby in early 2011, focusing on steampunk and dieselpunk. Since then, James has moved from small leather projects into other areas such as armor, electronics, metalwork, and fabrication, but he is probably best known for his hand crafted leather watches. His work landed him a spot on the TV series "Steampunk'd.” He has been featured in many steampunk publications and forums, and several of his items have been on display at the Nashville Tandy Leather store, The Dragon Con Alternate History Track, and even a steampunk display at the Smithsonian. You can see James's work at www.starboardsky.com, and follow him at www.facebook.com/StarboardSkyLeatherworks and on Instagram @starboardskyleather

Children of Proteus

Arizona, South Korea, Underwater

Cosplayers, Comic book authors, Make up artists and so much more., these folks seem to do it all. Their cosplay is predominantly based on their own original characters within the worlds of steampunk and mermaid folklore. A favorite whenever they appear at Steampunk and anime conventions, they have been active in the cosplay community since 2014 and continue to push the boundaries of both steampunk and cosplay! Look for their special seminar/workshops and visit their Cosplay booth on Main Street during the Big River Steampunk Festival.

Aksarben Industries

Lawrence, Kansas

Clay Hielscher and his daughter, Kyrianna, are the founders of Aksarben Industries, where they build costumes and props. As a father and daughter team, they have been doing Cosplay and charity events since 2012.  Clay will be building a special character for the Big River Steampunk Festival, as well as  teaching his art

in several seminars across the weekend.

DeRo Cinematography

D.C. Rambow Photography

Jorg Rochlitzer and D.C. Rambow are nationally-recognized expert practitioners in the lost art of vintage photogtaphy, especially with tintypes and wet glass-plate methods of the mid 1800s. This will be a rare opportunity to see these processes in action, as well as to own an authentic vintage portrait. The two will be providing talks on their craft (Rambow has worked as a photo expert and creator for several TV shows and movies, such as "True Grit", with some of those examples being placed on display here!)

Michael Schulkins

Silicon Valley, California

Michael Schulkins writes humor and science fiction novels full of phantasmagorical fun!

His new steampunk alternate history bestseller, Mark Twain on the Moon, brings the wit and wonder of Mark Twain’s travel writings to a whole new planet. This year he has been a guest author at BayCon, Writer of the Day on Reddit’s Fantasy community, and featured on the Steampunk Explorer and Alternate History Fiction websites. His other novels include the out-of-this-world political satires Up A Tree: A Jobs and Plunkitt Galactic Adventure, Beltway, and the comic crime capers Mother Lode and Sting Suite. He will be discussing the craft of writing at the festival.


Dana Fraedrich

Nashville, Tennessee

Dana Fraedrich is a dog lover, self-professed geek, and author of the steampunk fantasy series Broken Gears, which includes the Amazon bestseller, Out of the Shadows.  Dana's books are full of secrets and colorful characters that examine the many shades of grey that paint the world. When she isn't busy writing or attending book shows and author conferences, she can be found playing video games and frolicking among the Bookstagram community (the bookish corner of Instagram). She will be on the Great Midway, signing copies of her books, as well as giving  a writing seminar at our Academy.

Musicians and entertainers

Voler - Thieves of Flight

Kansas City, Missouri

More than a collective of aerial performers, Voler is also a training academy for those who wish to learn aerial dance and acrobatics, not to mention a wide range of sideshow, circus, and other skills that demand a high degree of discipline and dedication. Those representing the collective at the Big River Steampunk Festival include the founder (Rachael McMeachin) and former pupil Darling Violet.

The Ragged Blade Band

St. Louis, Missouri

This six-piece ensemble, led by Jerry Rabushka on trumpet and piano, specializes in jazz, ragtime, and blues, but also shines in covering early American roots music such as country – they label themselves “old-old school.” They will be creating the mood for the mayhem of the riverboat cruises, as well as gracing the Main Street Stage for a brief set.

Sweetie & The Toothaches

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis’ Premier Jump Blues Band, Sweetie & The Toothaches will have you stomping your feet and shaking your hips when you hear powerhouse vocalist and band leader Emilie “Sweetie” Richard belt out tunes such as “Farewell Blues” and “Bigger Fool” alongside her phenomenal Toothaches. Be prepared to sink your teeth into fresh baked rhythms, sweet & spicy harmonies and lip smackin’ solos. There’s no doubt they’ll leave you with a permanent sweet tooth!

The Midnight Wanderers

Lincoln, Nebraska

The Midnight Wanderers play a combination of Americana and bluegrass-themed music that recalls the authenticity and musicianship of ‘roots’ music; their renditions will take you back to another time and place where steam truly ruled the world. Hailing from Nebraska, The Midnight Wanderers are one of the most acclaimed traditional music groups in the heartland, and we are proud to welcome them back to Hannibal for the first time since 2015.

Clearly Guilty

Kansas City Area

Clearly Guilty is Kansas City's Premiere Nerd Band! There is only one word that describes Clearly Guilty's music: Nerdy. And Purdy. Two words. And Dirty. Three words. (Also Geeky, Funny, Science-y, Absurd, Steampunk, and Rutabaga)." See them at the Main Street Stage and Joy Pavilion throughout the weekend!

Judas and Magnolia

St. Louis, Missouri

Feat. The New Water Escape

and Mentalist Shows!

Dr. Judas Lynch and Ms. Magnolia Strange have been working together for years traveling the world and creating magic and wonder for all ages.

Dr. Lynch is a character of Stewart Minor which started in the St. Louis cabaret scene and is inspired by the likes of Charlie Chaplan, Buster Keaton, Harry Houdini, and The Amazing Randy. Stewart has studied with the Chicago Physical Theater, Circus Harmony, and The Celebration Barn Theater.


Ms. Magnolia Strange is a character of Ashleigh Lynne Packard, which started her performance career by performing escapology among other magicians in the St. Louis area, and now works alongside Dr. Judas Lynch. Magnolia also does solo performance in hoop, modeling, and lyra.


Look for Judas and Magnolia performing their comically daring feats of strength, endurance and escapism on the Main Street Stage and Joy Pavilion. In addition, Dr. Lynch has mastered the art of unlocking the potential of the mind, and he will be displaying the fruits of his labor at The Mentalist shows at 1pm and 5pm on Saturday in the Bluff City Theater.



Thom Barnett

Texas and Ontario, Canada

In his quarter-century of experience as an entertainer, Thom is more than an accomplished magician, for he has created a multitude of characters to highlight his skills, from dandy Lucien Horatio Munchausen to the roguish Thom Bedlam. Witness his close-up magic skills on one of the festival cruises! Find his 'inventions' at the Main Street Stage and Joy Pavilion as well.

Sammy Tramp

Chicago, Illinois

Sammy Tramp is a charming, lovable, scamp of a tramp, a throwback to the days of Chaplin and Keaton, and the good ol’ days of Vaudeville and Music Hall. Sammy is a high energy performance artist who has headlined and entertained in burlesque festivals, vaudeville shows, street/music festivals, silent film events, concerts, and cabarets. She was a founding member of Chicago's Silent Theatre company, and is also the creator and artistic director of the Beggar’s Carnivale, The Pocket Music Hall, The Traveling Flicker Factory, and most recently, The Crimson Follies. Sammy is also the director and emcee of the Big River Steampunk Festival’s burlesque shows (Star Theater) and the Twilight Elemental Circus (Tanyard Gardens).

Darling Violet

Chicago, Illinois

Darling Violet is originally from Pennsylvania but now makes her home in Chicago, Illinois -- that is, when not traveling cross-country as co-star of the Crimson Follies. A graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts and member of the Kansas City Society of Burlesque, she now performs as a singer, dancer, aerialist, circus performer and burlesque dancer throughout the United States.


Little Beard

and the ScallyWags

Wichita, Kansas

Beard and the Wags are back by popular demand for their sixth consecutive year at the Big River Steampunk Festival! The Scally Wags Pirate Comedy Show is one of the longest running Pirate acts in the U.S., performing at Ren Faires and Steampunk conventions around the country. These scoundrels of the seas will delight you throughout the Festival with their antics on stage, as well as hosting the Jekyll and Hijinks improv show at the Mark Twain Brewing Company. You can also buy them a beer pretty much any night at Finn's, their preferred hangout while in Hannibal for Big River.

Amourena Tsokatos

Chicago, Illinois

Amourena describes her act as Ammunition:

“Ammunition has been gracing Chicago's stages as an independent performer since 2006!

She specializes in variety performance such as LED isis wing dances, fan veils, silk veil dances, fire eating and breathing arts, angle grinder acts and body modification rituals.

You may have spotted her onstage at the Northcoast Music Festival, Wavefront Music Festival, Spring Awakening Music Festival, Summer Camp Music Festival, Show Me Burlesque Festival, Madison Fire Ball, Milwaukee Pridefest, Chicago Pridefest, Snake Oil Festival in NOLA and Electric Forest!

She was nominated, competed and won the Performing Artist of the Year award from Chicago Raw Artists in 2011.  See Ammunition at the Twilight Elemental Circus, the Sensory Overload Burley-Q, and the Time-Traveling Burlesque shows during the festival weekend.

Crazy Boy Coy

Kansas City, Missouri

"Crazy Boy" Coy Espinoza bills himself as "a professional idiot". "My job consists of doing outrageous things and telling jokes while doing them. I make people laugh, and it makes me happy." Coy has been entertaining audiences for years at Ren Faires and Steampunk conventions with his hilarious, and amazing, acts of physical comedy, juggling, contortion, balancing, and overall clowing.  You can experience the joy that is Crazy Boy Coy on the Main Street Stage and Joy Pavilion at the Big River Steampunk Festival.


Foxy La Feelion

St. Louis, Missouri

Foxy La Feelion has been in the burlesque scene for 12 years now. But her passion for entertaining started much earlier.

   Foxy studied at COCA Center Of Creative Arts, where she quickly sharpened her jazz,tap,ballet and modern dance skills and became part of the Senior dance company by the age of 14. She has been very fortunate to have worked with many major dance companies, including Paul Taylor, Battleworks, River North, Twlya Tharp, Jason Samuels Smith, Doug Elkins and much more.

       After ending her time with COCA dance, she was asked to join the first burlesque group in St. Louis, the Alley Cat Revue.

         Currently a solo artist and multiple award winning performer, she has been a choreographer for The Hoochie Coochie Girls, Beggars Carnivale and many other groups. As a classically trained dancer since childhood, this multi award winning performer is well known internationally for her high kicks!


Eva la Feva is a nationally touring burlesque and belly dance performer/producer that has been delighting audiences for over a decade with her fluid, stylized dance technique base and her emotive and theatrical approach to burlesque. See Eva perform in the Sensory Overload Burley-Q and the Time-Traveling Burlesque atat the Big River Steampunk Festival.

Eva La Feva

Chicago, Illinois

Making her debut at the Big River Steampunk Festival, Sio is part of the Sammy Tramp's troupe coming from Chicago to entertain the Steampunk crowd at Big River.  Sio is a popular burlesque performer in Chicagoland, appearing in such prestigious cabarets as Unbridled, No-Tell Cabaret, House of Blues, Uptown Underground and many others. See Sio perform in The Sensory Overload Burley-Q and the Time-Traveling Burlesque at the Big River Steampunk Festival.

Sio Bast

Chicago, Illinois

Melinda Kaye

Springfield, Illinois

A college professor in music and voice, Melinda Kaye will be fascinating audiences with her mastery of the Hurdy Gurdy, a crank-driven string instrument that can  produce the volume of several instruments at once - a thousand-year old device that feels as though it was invented in a steampunk world! Look for her at the Main Street Stage or Joy Pavilion performing and conducting parasol duels, and she will be teaching the art of fan-painting at the Creative Exchange....



Prof. Jefferson Parker

Wichita, Kansas

Professor Parker was the Dance Master of The Entre' Nous Club Victorian Dancers at Old Cowtown Museum for 18 years. He teaches and performs the Waltz, Quadrilles, Contras and other single couple dances with his lovely wife, Mrs. Maddy Parker. The Professor is also known to do demos of the Pennyfarthing Bicycle and give rides to kids and some adults during the Big River Steampunk Festival.



Big River Steampunk Festival

is Presented By:

Ken and Lisa Marks

to benefit the

Hannibal History Museum Foundation

200 N. Main Street

Hannibal, MO 63401

(573) 248-1819


a 501(c)(3) Missouri non-profit corporation

Federal ID (EIN): 46-4772316

IRS DLN# 17053062337044

This Year's Festival Is Dedicated to "Joy", who is having her own tea party in the sky....

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Big River Steampunk Festival, the Big River Steampunk Festival logo, and other names, logos, icons and marks identifying Big River Steampunk Festival products and services are trademarks of Ken and Lisa Marks and may not be used without the acquisition of prior written permission.  All rights not expressly granted in this agreement are reserved to Ken and Lisa Marks. You may not post, distribute, reproduce, or sell in any way, any copyrighted material, trademarks, or other proprietary information that you do not have legal authorization to use. Although not anticipated, necessary changes to the Schedule of Events, products offered, and any other advertised offerings may be made without prior notice.