Underneath sleeves of ink and piercings, there are some big hearts among the approximately 20 tattoo artists who gathered in Vernon Sunday.
Artists from across Western Canada donated their time and talent to help kids at the Five Fathoms Custom Flash Day fundraiser for B.C. Children’s Hospital.
“We raised $26,000,” said event organizer Nick Matovich, of Five Fathoms, which first hosted the event in 2013. “So that’s $10,000 more than we did the first year.”
People were quite literally lined up around the block for a chance at getting some ink in support of the cause.
“We got here at 8 a.m. and there was probably about 250 people lined up pretty much all the way down to the highway,” said Matovich, who helped ink more than 130 people.
“We were here until probably about one in the morning.”
Even those who didn’t get a new piece of skin art supported the street party that came alive on 30th Avenue that day.
Tunes were pumping thanks to local band Paperboy and the Messengers, as well as DJ Dustin Peters, formerly of Vernon.
The Mustard Tiger foodtruck rolled in from Kelowna and raised $1,150 towards the cause.
About $700 in raffle tickets alone were sold.
And thanks to the artists, and Good Guy Supply for donating all the tattoo disposables, the event was a major success.
“We had tattooers from all over: Canmore, Penticton, Salmon Arm, Red Deer, a bunch of guys from Vancouver, one guy from the Sunshine Coast. They all made their own way out here and donated their time.
“So a lot of people came out.”
While the talent was a major draw, the cause is what everyone was on board with.
Particularly Matovich, who founded the event.
His daughter, Nova, was born with a heart defect and he is forever grateful to B.C. Children’s Hospital for being just a quick flight away.
Now three-and-a-half, Nova has undergone three surgeries, and recently suffered her second stroke.
You wouldn’t know it, from watching her dance around at the fundraiser, making everyone smile, but just one month ago, Nova suffered a fairly major stroke.
“She is doing really well,” said Matovich, as she had to re-learn a number of basic functions, like walking, again. “But she is on some pretty heavy meds.”
This year’s event is the second, following one in 2013, and Matovich hopes to continue hosting them every two years.
Check out Five Fathoms’ video from the event at www.vernonmorningstar.com