The New Babbage Oiling Festival

4/2/10  at 6:56 PM
The 2nd Annual Oiling Festival was held in New Babbage March 19th through the 27th. To quote the mayor, Clockwinder Mosseveno Tenk, "The Oiling Festival is a steampunk answer to spring cleaning, when we halt the factories to clean out the grit and grime of the previous year and perform annual maintenance. All good citizens and visitors are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and participate! The original Oiling Festival was held to add needed items to the city inventory and invite the greater steamlands to experience the Babbage way of life for a week."

This year was no exception, as several contests were held in conjunction with the festival. The results, as posted by Mayor Tenk:

BEST OILER. 16 entries. [Best portrait of someone performing their maintenance work]
1st: Nat Merit - chimney sweeping
2nd: Skusting Dagger - Breezy Carver in Nemo's Workshop @ Nemo
3rd: Beq Janus - in the bowels of the Hippocampus
Honorable Mention: Verlia Balavio
Mayor's Choice : Arconis Arkright, a heroic mechanic if ever there was one!

EXPORTS. 11 entries. [Creation of objects of export to decorate the docks]
1st: Aeolus Cleanslate for spectacularly sculpted crates of Zombie Pale Ale.
2nd: Skusting Dagger for a collction of air kraken products. The oil has both culinary and industrial uses, who knew?
3rd: Alaex Aeon for crates of Aeon's Bottled Elixir. Builder only knows what it really does to you.
Honorable Mention: Aeolus Cleanslate for drama, neatly packaged for export.
Mayor's Choice: Maggie Lynwood for the barrel of Srizzle Snake Jelly. The judges noted the crate of smog could have been better executed with particle effects.
And an official mystified shake of the head to Tepic Harlequin for his pallet of Salted Vole Butter.

HONKING BIG MACHINE. 12 entries. [Self-explanatory, I should think]
1st: Rip Wirefly - Portable Steam Drill. It's portable. It has wheels.

2nd: Kimika Ying - Death Rays For Peace: Industrial Use of Martian Heatray Demo. Cleverly referenced a chapter of city history. The notecard was very informative.

3rd: Fire Broono - Honkin Big Espresso Machine. It might have broke out of the pack if it actually gave you a cup of capo.
3rd: Greg Merryman - Big Honkin Steam Engine A few flaws in construction, but lovely to look at.

Honorable Mention: Cyan Rayna - Honkin Big Dynamo Powered Cake Machine. Very clever entry. Father Moonwall is going to be asking you some pointed questions about trying to attract that angel back here, young cheetah.
Honorable Mention: Thaiis Thei - Urchin Powered Diabolical Door Opener. Environementally friendly, urchins do grow faster than trees or coal. Do find and urchin to feed to the furnace to watch the animation.

The rest of the group, in no particular order:
DreddPirateBob Streeter - Posh and Stupid. And it honks. Notably annoying. A symphonic collection of industrial noise.
Cuerdas Ishelwood - Giant Alchohol-fired Automatic Swizzle Stick. Very soothing.
Victor1st Mornington - Dynamo Powered Orrery (accurate planet rotations!)
Aeolus Cleanslate - New Babbage Drama Factory - amazing. pull the lever and watch it work. disqualified for overprimmage.

MONUMENT. 9 entries from 7 contributors. [Monuments to decorate the median on Academy Downs, outside of Victory Hall]
1st - Rip WIrefly, for those who gave their lived to industry
2nd - Edward Pearse, for Titus O'Drum, the clockmaker. Can't go wrong with clocks in this town.
3rd - Stargirl MacBain, for the Great Fire bowl.
Honorable - Victor1st Mornington, for I. K. Brunel
Mayor's Choice - Edward Pearse, for Nicholas Bombard, defender of the city.

SEA GATE. 4 entries. [Designs for a gate on the canal entrance to the sea]
1st: Beq Janus: Stunning! The judges now want locking mechanisms on everything.
2nd: Rip Wirefly: elegant and functional. Judges complained about the LOD on the sculpt.
3rd: Ianthe Farshore: very solid!
Honoarable Mention: Victor1st Morningston. An excellent sound, but the judges complained it wasn't grimy enough.

URCHIN LAUNCHER. 2 entries. [Who needs a reason? It's fun!]
1st: Vernden Jervil - the urchins get washed so they won't gum up the machine. Very thoughtful!
2nd: Rip Wirefly - a giant spring loaded boxing glove baited with ice cream cone. non-functional due to oil shortage, alas.

The contests for the Imperial Couriers sketches and the Travel Posters were extended for one week. The contest for lace design was cancelled due to lack of entries.

The Oiling Festival culminated with the 2nd Annual Steamfitters Ball on March 27th. Attendees glittered in their gold-colored attire, and danced the night away. This ball was also the kick-off event for New Babbage's RFL season.

However, not all went smoothly during the Festival. Soon after the Festival began, people began noticing a strange lack of oil, whether in their machinery, or in something as simple as a home lamp. Though some suspicions rested on the urchins, shortages quickly became widespread, too much so for simple urchin thievery, especially as small holes were discovered punched in one oil can. Machines and constructs alike began suffering from the lack, and folks began searching for new supplies.

Around the same time, people began noticing bees hovering around sources of oil. Their presence became more widespread, causing a great deal of speculation. A member of the New Babbage Militia, Miss Bookworm Hienrichs, tracked the bees' flight paths, and discovered that they led to Dr. Obolensky's observatory in the Vernian Sea. After her attempt to catch one of the bees failed, she entered Dr. Obolensky's observatory in search of conclusive proof. She found the needed proof that the bees, mechanical in nature, were stealing the oil and storing it under the observatory, but she was captured by the doctor, and only the heroic actions of Mr. MichaelD Mannonen, another member of the Militia, saved her from an oily demise.

With proof of Dr. Obolensky's perfidy obtained, talk turned to how to recover the oil. Before anything could be done, however, fire swept through the observatory, heavily damaging it and burning off the stolen oil. The fate of Dr. Obolensky is, at this time, unknown, nor is it known how many of the mechanical bees managed to escape. However, it appears that the height of the oil crisis is past, and the citizens of New Babbage can once again run and maintain their machinery, though with, perhaps, a wary eye to the sky.

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