by Mika Belle
About 3,000 people braved the rain to attend the first day of the 208 Tat2Fest at Expo Idaho on Saturday, May 26.
Crowds were entertained with motorcycle stunts, hot rods, custom choppers, a skate park, live music, glass blowing, an art gallery, a food court, a pinup model contest, and, oh yeah, tattoos. In fact, the festival showcased about 60 tattoo artists, and dozens traveled in from out of town.
The biggest star of the day was easily Amy Nicoletto from the reality show LA Ink. Her booth was surrounded by admirers as she tattooed a dramatic back-piece portrait. When asked about the City of Trees, she said she was actually relieved by the rain after sweltering in her homebase of Southern California.
"The weather is perfect and the downtown area is just beautiful," she said.
Nicoletto works two to three similar conventions per month, and she seemed pleased with the show in Boise.
Promoter Kay Lee McGoldrick said she conceived her vision for the 208 Tat2Fest three years ago.
"I wanted to bring something really cool to Boise," she said. "I think it is unique in that it brought a lot of people together in their common love of tattoos."
McGoldrick was both happy and relieved to finally have the big day realized.
"Oh my goodness, it's been a labor of love. It's been a lot of work, but it's so nice to see it all come together," she said.
Pinup model Sophie Edwina was on hand to meet and greet event attendees. She and other models were finalists in a contest and recently showcased on a local calendar. Edwina said she met a lot of friendly people at the fest.
"I think it's really cool there's a large event for the alternative crowds in Idaho, and that it used the community for local artists and vendors," Edwina said.
Treasure Valley artist Danielle Demaray said she was also pleased with the turnout and support. She sold enough posters to pay off her weekend rental fee within the first four hours.
According to Heather McMillan, an administrative assistant with Impact Radio Group that promoted and coordinated the event, many vendors considered the event a success.
"Everybody I've talked to has had positive feedback, and people are already asking to rent booths for next year," McMillan said.