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Tattoo show draws thousands

The 2014 Okanagan Tattoo show brought thousands of people of all ages to the Parkinson Recreation Centre this past weekend. 

Organizers say the second annual event is all about breaking down stereotypes and showcasing art and artists.

Danielle Crowe of Don't Look Down Tattoo organizes the event. She said it's important to her because she wanted to bring all the artists from the Okanagan together. 

"I wanted to bring all the artists to Kelowna because I wanted to showcase how beautiful the Okanagan is," she said. "We want to show people about the culture of tattooing. There's a lot more than just doing tattoos, it's about breaking down cultural barriers."

Art Szabo, who ran media for the show, said they've stepped up everything at the show compared to last year. 

"It's a learning process and it's a growing event," he said. Last year they brought in around 3,000 people. 

This year, not including web sales, Saturday alone saw at least 700 tickets sold. And it wasn't only the heavily tattooed and pierced people in attendance.

"We want to break down the social stereotypes around tattooing and make people realize it can be a family friendly thing," said Szabo. "Obviously you're going to get the tattoo afficionados, but you're also going to get people that have thought about it and now are taking the plunge." 

Sunday was a kid-oriented day -- the Okanagan Boys and Girls club set up a bouncy castle, there was also kids (fake) tattoo stations, face painting, caricature drawings, sidewalk chalk, animal balloons, twister, tae-kwon-do and break dancers.

Artists attending the show came from the Okanagan and Vancouver Island, but also from as far away as Winnipeg, Tahiti and Germany.

Terence Smith who ran the production of the event said tattooing is about self expression. 

"The old stigma of it being only for outlaw bikers is not a thing anymore. First and foremost it's a form of self-expression," he said. "My question to people is: 'do you have art on your walls?' if they say yes, that's what tattoos are for me."

Bobby Tripp from Black & Blue tattoo in Nanaimo was halfway through a tattoo when the power went out Saturday night. 

"We were part way through and the power went out," he said. "Thankfully I was able to track him down (the client) when it came back on." 

Rob Noseworthy is the owner of Black & Blue tattoo and this is his second year at the Okanagan show. He comes to the event because he has a lot of friends in the area and says it's a well run show. 

"You don't see many shows that are all about tattooing and don't have a bunch of vendors in here at the same time," he said. "I like that about it."

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