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FARMINGTON — If you've never attended a steampunk convention but you're curious about Saturday's fourth annual Steamers & Dreamers event in Aztec, founder Cindy Iacovetto says putting together a costume is not hard to do.

"I would tell them to start in their closet," she said. "I've said it before, and I truly believe it — everyone has a steampunk costume in their closet, in their tool shed or in their garage."

And if you really want to go all in on an outfit, Iacovetto said vintage clothing stores are the go-to destination for the steampunk shopper.

"Steampunk is based on steam power," she said. "Think goggles, top hats, gloves, layers, long coats, vests and ties. One of the coolest things about steampunk is that it's not limited to a certain area. You could be a steampunk cowboy or a steampunk witch with a steam-powered gun or steam-powered broom."

Make no mistake — most of the fun of attending a steampunk convention comes through devising and executing a costume, with a heavy emphasis on putting your imagination to work. For some enthusiasts of the genre, which reflects Victorian-era science fiction style, that means the more elaborate, the better. But Iacovetto views it from a simpler perspective.

PAST EVENT: Steampunk convention will take place in Aztec

"It's just kind of fun to step outside your comfort zone and try something new," she said.

Iacovetto said her costume preferences usually run toward a lot of gadgetry, though this year she said she plans to go in a different, simpler direction. In the past she has attended the event as Robusta Rita, a pregnant robot, and Cynborg, a machine hybrid of herself.

The convention features a full day of attractions and activities, including a costume contest, live music, vendors, food and drink offerings, panel presentations and a new addition this year, a children's area with face painting, crafts, movies and treats.

"I had a young person come up to me and ask if we were going to have cotton candy, and a light just went off," Iacovetto said, describing the inspiration behind the convention's Kids Konnection.

Attendance at past Steamers & Dreamers conventions has varied. The inaugural version of the event was a big success, selling out the senior center, which features a capacity of 365 people. The next two years did not see as many visitors, but Iacovetto is optimistic about Saturday's event.

"I'm really hoping for a great turnout this year," she said.

Iacovetto said she already has heard from steampunk enthusiasts from as far away as Las Cruces and Colorado who are planning to travel to Aztec this weekend. She advertised the event in more markets this year, promoting it in such towns as Taos, Santa Fe, Gallup and Roswell, and hopes that aggressiveness pays dividends.

Higher attendance means the event's fundraising beneficiary, the city of Aztec's Good Neighbors campaign, will be able to help more people in unfortunate situations. Program organizers encourage acts of kindness, providing emergency funding for families in need and promoting the idea of people of different backgrounds embracing each other.

That notion fits like a glove with what steampunk epitomizes, Iacovetto said.

"It's really designed for groups of diverse people to come together," she said.

The convention runs from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Aztec Senior Center, 101 S. Park Ave. in Aztec. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children. Visit steamersanddreamers.com or call 505-334-2881 or 505-801-0373.

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Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610.

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