Adults-only trade show too naughty

The politics of liquor and sex have collided with the values of Christian fundamentalism in British Columbia's Bible belt, forcing organizers of an adults-only trade show to cancel a three-day event.

For the past four years, the Fraser Valley Taboo Naughty But Nice Show has offered patrons the opportunity to shop for sex toys, watch fashion shows and live demonstrations and participate in seminars.

But Canwest Productions Inc. announced Friday that the fifth annual show at the Abbotsford Tradex is history because the company couldn't secure a roaming liquor licence between March 29 and March 31 and because of "push back" from a "vocal group of Christian fundamentalists."

The company said a roaming licence allows patrons to carry their drinks around the event, instead of being restricted to a beer garden in the corner of the trade show's floor.

"Based upon the restrictions placed upon us concerning our ability to serve liquor and the negative push-back we were getting concerning our show's entertainment and educational offerings, we do not feel that we can meet the expectations of our guests or our exhibitors," said Peter Kiddell, the company's president, in a statement.

Kiddell said the company has repeatedly asked the city for the roaming liquor licence but has been turned down.

The organizers have also faced a backlash from Christian fundamentalists led by former mayoral candidate Gearda Peachy, he said.

In fact, Peachy has lobbied Abbotsford's city council to ban the event.

"This obsession with deviation, it does nothing to help, it does nothing to enhance humanity," said Peachy, explaining why she opposes the event.

Dan Stefanson, executive director of Tourism Abbotsford, said the community will feel the effect because the exhibition attracted many visitors.

"People would come and stay in our hotels and rent cars and fly into the airport, and that's going to be very sadly missed in our community in a few weeks when the events not here," he said.

Kiddell said his company hopes to work with its opponents and city officials so the show can return next year.

Abbotsford wasn't the only location for the Taboo Naughty But Nice Show. The event also runs in each of the western provinces.

(CKNW AM 980)

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