Awhile back, we heard about a review on TripAdvisor by a woman who said she disliked Playa del Carmen (which seems to actually have been just the giant all-inclusive resort outside of town where she stayed) because it was filled with “loud, tattooed tourists.” We laughed hysterically. She was describing us and the people we like! We do have tattoos ourselves-Tony has his left forearm covered with a Buddhist haiku in the original Japanese Kanji lettering, and on his right arm he has a large iguana whose shadow is created by a Mayan sun. Cheri has a small heart with devil horns and pointed tail on her…uh…lower…uh… “back”. 🙂
Our first thought on reading this was how sad that people can be so judgmental over something as harmless and personal as a tattoo. And how unfair to condemn a resort, a town or any location based on other visitors being different. In our mind that is one of the great reasons to travel…to be exposed to people and experiences you might otherwise never get to know. That’s also why we tend to avoid the large all-inclusive hotels when we travel. We figure why stay in the same style room, eating the same style food with people who are just like us when we can go have an adventure?
Then Cheri said, “Hey, we LOVE loud, tattooed tourists! Let’s invite them to our place!” And that’s what we decided to do. We would have a party at our bar for tattooed tourists. And so was born InkFest 2010.
InkFest 2010 at the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar was a bar party with something more. It had live music of course (our friend and Luna Blue house musician Mike Grabow), along with some freebies ( a free shot of tequila for anyone with a tattoo). We also invited Playa’s legendary tattoo shop, ScreamInk to bring down some art work and talk to people about tattoos. But best of all we decided to show our appreciation for those “loud tattooed tourists” by giving them prizes. We had a tattoo contest with awards for Biggest Tattoo, Sexiest Tattoo, Most Tattoos and Best Tattoo.
When we announced InkFest we had no idea how many people would come or be willing to show off their bodies to a crowd. As it turns out…a lot of people liked the idea. We were packed with people of every size, age, color, and nationality. We had twenty-somethings and sixty-plus retirees. We had both men and women with tattoos. We had people with tiny flowers on their feet and people with whole worlds etched on their back. And every part of the body you can imagine (well, almost every part) was used as a canvas for someone’s ink.
Judging was done by Cheri, our friend Carole LoBue and Peanut Pet Shelter Director Andy MacDonald. The judges worked very hard and saw a lot of tattoos. In fact, when shirtless buff young men showed their art, our lady judges were very attentive and often required a closer look! LOL!
As the evening wore on, more and more people strutted their stuff and showed their body art. Some wanted one of our great prizes which ranged from discounts on tattoos (donated by ScreamInk) to bar tabs at the Luna Blue bar and a grand prize of $2000 pesos towards a new tattoo. Other folks just wanted the pleasure of showing their ink and having people admire their art. It could not have been a friendlier, more open, more willing to share group of people. Exactly the type of people we like. Or, what some might call…”loud, tattooed tourists” 🙂
InkFest was so popular we will certainly do it again next year. So if you don’t have a tat yet…you have 12 months to get one. For some inspiration on how beautiful a tattoo can be, here are photos of some of the great people who were part of Inkfest 2010. See you next year!
BTW, InkFest was broadcast live over the internet thanks to our friend Rick Cole. Our future parties may also end up in a live web cast. Become a fan of the Luna Blue Hotel and Bar on Facebook to receive notices and details when we do have special events.
And remember: travel should be an adventure!
Local tattoo shop, ScreamInk, provided many of the prizes for InkFest 2010
Emma Waddell, winner of the Best Overall Tattoo contest, with her tribute to the movie Pink Flamingos. Her tattoo has a portrait of director John Waters, Divine, Mink Stole & a pink flamingo.
This tattoo, located in a very private spot, was only seen by a few. Its owner was too shy to enter the contests.
Singer/Guitarist Mike Grabow and MC Papa T
Emily, one of the few InkFest attendees who didn’t have a tattoo 🙂
Melaina Marinello, winner of the Sexiest Tattoo contest
Paul Koppenhoefer’s Joker tattoo
Angel Cantu, winner of the Biggest Tattoo contest
Melaina Marinello, with a beautiful Buddha on her back
A’ndrea Houston, winner of the Papa T’s Favorite Tattoo contest
Melissa’s entry in the Sexiest Tattoo contest
Melissa’s ingenious attempt at influencing the judges
Andy Macdonald, owner of the Peanut Pet Shelter and one of our InkFest judges
A’ndrea showing her new tattoo from atop the bar
Vic Marinello’s ram tattoo
Nick Elsom’s amazing portrait of his father, runner up for Best Overall Tattoo
Emma Waddell, winner of Best Overall Tattoo