Ghosts, ghouls, and demons took over the cobblestone streets of Deadwood on Saturday to attend the Black Hills Tattoo Festival and Deadweird, two celebrations that allowed visitors to step outside of themselves for a while.
The tattoo festival, in its second year, also attracted vendors from as far away as Connecticut and Chicago to The Lodge at Deadwood, where they were on hand to offer piercings and tattoos.
Tom Ringwalt of Tommy Supplies in Somers, Conn., brought his tattoo machines to promote his business.
“We don’t care if it’s a small convention or big one, we just want to get our name out there,” he said.
According to the convention organizer Michael Taylor, the tattoo festival brought more than 2,000 people to the Black Hills in 2009. By early Saturday evening, he estimated that about 600 people were taking in this year’s event. He said he expected some of the people attending Deadweird events at the Silverado Franklin Historic Hotel would eventually make it to the Lodge, where the tattoo festival was being held.
“You’d be surprised how many people around here love tattoos,” Taylor said. “It’s a thing that people enjoy getting. It’s like going out and getting a loaf of bread.”
Tattooed Life Radio, which was started five months ago by Taylor and Dan Collins of Chicago, provided music that ranged from hard rock to country.
“It’s an Internet radio station dedicated to the lifestyle of the tattooing,” Collins said. “We play a lot of music, because we feel like music and tattoos go hand in hand. I mean, how many heavy metal bands have tattoos? Most of them.”
Vicki Urban of Rushmore Rollerz was among those who added to her body art Saturday by getting a tattoo of a roller derby pinup girl in her team’s colors.
“I was just flipping through the pictures, and that’s the one that popped out at me,” Urban said of the pinup design.
Tyler Sunt, meanwhile, decided to get his first tattoo Saturday.
“I’ve gotta move out in a year,” Sunt, 18, said. “It’s the last time that I’ll be able to be a kid again.”
Sunt said he enjoyed getting the tattoo -- even if it did hurt.
“That is why you get it,” he said. “It’s a good kind of hurt.”
“We’ve got a little bit of everything,” said Sarah Anderson of the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce. Last year, about 330 people entered the costume contest. Anderson said she expected a similar number this year.
“It’s a fun event because you can come and be anybody,” she said.