TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — After the pandemic forced them to move their convention online, the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention returned to Tucson for their 12th year.
Steampunk is a genre that mixes science fiction with the 19th century and steam powered technology.
However, attendees say it's so much more than that.
"I have been attending since the very first year. I've seen people come from across the world. And they all come to the desert to celebrate steampunk, which is so much more than just a genre" said Lady Ember Sparks. "It's also a place where people can explore. They can be creative, and just make friendships last a lifetime."
Sparks is a panelist at the convention. She has been attending since it started in 2010 and the convention holds a special place in her heart.
"My husband actually proposed to me at Wild West Con in 2016," Sparks said.
Owner Jason Drotman said being part of steampunk has helped so many people find a community.
"Steampunk really has a lot to do with finding what matters to you most, to finding the creative spark inside you, mixing that with science fiction, futurism and really just exploring the things that make you happy," Drotman said. "We're a really supportive community that gets together to share the things we love. I really just enjoy getting together with everybody."
Market director Cassandra Sparrold Shute said they picked Tucson for their convention because the desert adds something special.
"They come to Wild West Con because Old Tucson was John Wayne," Shute said. "It became a little bit like hunting a lost civilization where arts and grace and grit thrive."
In the past, the convention was held at Old Tucson. This year it was hosted at The Westward Look Resort but Sparks hopes they'll be back there one day.
"Old Tucson is super important to us and I cannot wait to get back," said Sparks. "You can see steampunk is just a spirit that will not be conquered."
This year's theme was "Over the Rainbow" and Shute says they've done just that.
"We have kind of achieved our mission of over the rainbow," she said. "We found that pot of gold and the fun part of that is that's each other."
You can find more information about Wild Wild West Convention here.