Friday, October 24, 2008

Sideshow Gathering 2008, October 31 through November 2

The reviews are in!Another Monkey: The Sideshow Gathering 2008, Part 1
Another Monkey: The Sideshow Gathering 2008, Part 2

If you've ever wanted to experience the fun and excitement of running away and joining the circus but haven't been interested in the "running away" and "joining" parts, the Sideshow Gathering is just the thing for you! An annual tradition in Wilkes-Barre for fifteen years, the Inkin' the Valley Tattoo Convention and Sideshow Gathering attracts sideshow performers (like Dr. Wilson of Memory Elixir fame, in the top hat, and Zamora the Torture King, with the skewer through his mouth) from across the country and around the world!

One low price gets you in the door to see the greatest collection of freaks and human oddities ever to appear at a convention. And those are just the people attending! Seriously: you may have a hard time distinguishing the visitors from the sideshow folk. It's definitely a show worth visiting. The memories of your time there will stick with you throughout the year!

Location: The Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Wilkes-Barre PA (directions and maps)

SideShow Gathering 08
Show Schedule
(from the official site)

Thursday October 30th
7:00 p.m. Pre-Convention Awards
12:00 a.m. Midnight SideShow Auction

Friday October 31st
3:00 Convention Opens!
5:00 – 9:30 SideShow Entertainment
9:30– 10:00 Intermission
10:00 - 11:00 SideShow Entertainment
11:00 Convention Floor Closes

Saturday Nov 1st
12:00 Convention Floor Re-Opens
3:00 – 6:00 SideShow Entertainment
6:00 – 9:00 Intermission and Autographs
9:00 – 10:00 Contest Awards and Fashion Show
10:00-11:00 SideShow Entertainment
11:00 Convention Floor Closes

Sunday Nov 2nd12:00 Convention Floor Re-Opens
2:00 – 5:00 SideShow entertainment
7:00 Convention Floor Closes

Links from

Attractions at Sideshow Gathering 2008 will include:
The Lucky Daredevil Thrillshow featuring Tyler Fyre and Thrill Kill Jill
Washington DC’s
Swami Yomahmi and The Cheeky Monkey Sideshow
Natasha Veruschka, Queen of Swords
Philadelphia’s Olde City Sideshow
Dr. Wilson’s Memory Elixir
The Crispy Family Carnival
Knotty Bits Sideshow
The Magic of Steve Hyde and Melanie
and consummate master of ceremonies Aye Jaye.

Vendors will also be on hand to display unusual items such as freakshow memorabilia, rare books, and original artwork.

Come one, come all! Hurry, hurry, hurry!

See you there!

UPDATE, 10/26/08: Official press release for the Sideshow Gathering!




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Wilkes-Barre PA -- Step right up! Over Halloween weekend, this corner of northeastern Pennsylvania will once again become the world's center of weirdness when the 15th Annual Inkin' The Valley tattoo convention and Sideshow Gathering 2008 roll into town. From October 31st through November 2nd, the strange and unusual take center stage when showmen and genuine sideshow freaks from across the country descend on Wilkes-Barre to celebrate and display the giddy thrills and tantalizing mysteries of the circus and carnival sideshow. Over the weekend, these carnies will swap lies, swallow swords, eat razor blades, walk on broken glass, and otherwise risk bodily harm for the sake of entertainment. If you are looking for something unsettlingly unique to do this Halloween, Sideshow Gathering 2008 should be at the top of your list!

Attractions at Sideshow Gathering 2008 will include: The Lucky Daredevil Thrillshow, featuring Tyler Fyre and Thrill Kill Jill; Washington DC's Swami Yomahmi and The Cheeky Monkey Sideshow; Natasha Veruschka, Queen of Swords; Philadelphia's Olde City Sideshow; Dr.Wilson's Memory Elixir; The Crispy Family Carnival; Knotty Bits Sideshow; The Magic of Steve Hyde and Melanie; and consummate master of ceremonies Aye Jaye. Vendors will also be on hand to display unusual items such as freakshow memorabilia, rare books, and original artwork.

Concurrent with the 15th Annual Inkin' the Valley tattoo convention at Wilkes-Barre's The Woodlands Inn & Resort, Sideshow Gathering 2008 begins at 3:00 P.M. on Friday, October 31st, with live sideshow performances starting at 5:00 P.M. and continuing until midnight. Performances will resume from 3:00 to 6:00 P.M. and 10:00 P.M. to midnight on Saturday, followed by a special auction of rare and unusual circus, carnival and sideshow items. On Sunday, there will be encore performances from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. Tickets for the entire weekend of events are only $15 per person and provide entry to both the Sideshow Gathering and Inkin' the Valley. On Halloween night, those arriving in costume will receive $5 off admission! For more information, please visit
"The Side Show Gathering is an unforgettable three day vacation with some of the world's wildest, weirdest, wackiest and most wonderful performing human oddities. I hope to meet you there!" - Walt Hudson in Circus Report
Generations of Americans once stood in line on their local fairgrounds to stare at human freaks and strange feats under a canvas tent. Every big circus had a sideshow full of odd attractions, and dime museums flourished in every city. The golden days of the sideshow are long gone, but for this dedicated group of fans and performers the tradition is still very much alive.

The most vocal supporter of the Sideshow Gathering is the event's long-time master of ceremonies and self-described Carny Trash, Aye Jaye. "HURRY, HURRY, STEP RIGHT UP," shouts the author of The Golden Rule of Schmoozing. "Why wouldn't you step right up? I mean really? Why wouldn't you want to get a behind the scenes look at how the guy is putting a meat skewer through one cheek and out the other, or meet someone who eats a 150-watt light bulb before your eyes?" Aye Jaye, who for more than thirty years portrayed the role of one of the original Ronald McDonalds, drives home the point by explaining, "You are getting an invitation to gather a couple of your cool friends to take them behind the canvas for the most memorable outing you will ever have!"

The Sideshow Gathering is a treat for the audience, but for performers it is also an opportunity to connect with fellow talent. Danny Borneo of the Olde City Sideshow says, "The Sideshow Gathering is the one opportunity each year to see some of the top acts in the business all under one roof. For us it's an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make some amazing new ones. It truly is a one of a kind experience." Stephon Walker, whose alter-ego Swami Yomahmi will be appearing at the Sideshow Gathering with The Cheeky Monkey Sideshow says, "From the old pros to the new up-and-comers, the Gathering, well, gathers the most incredible group of carnies, natural wonders, working acts, historians and enthusiasts that you could ever hope to meet in one place. It's all real. It's all alive. And it's all at the Sideshow Gathering."

When asked what makes the Sideshow Gathering different from any other convention, Kathleen Kotcher (editor of the journal James Taylor's Shocked & Amazed! On and Off the Midway) said, "It is Christmas, your birthday and your first kiss all rolled up into one great weekend! The Sideshow Gathering is the greatest gathering of freaks (and the folks who love them) in the history of entertainment. If you're a fan of the odd, bizarre and unusual – or if you just plain love a good time – the Sideshow Gathering is the place to be!"

Franco Kossa, founder and organizer of the event, feels that the Sideshow Gathering is vital to keeping the tradition alive. "This is a tough business, and the sideshow world is a tight-knit community. The Gathering gives these folks a place to get together, cut up jackpots, show off a bit, and refresh their spirits. As they say in the business, it's a hard way to make an easy living!"

For more about Sideshow Gathering 2008, including event schedules and ticket information, please visit the official website:

Inkin' the Valley and Sideshow Gathering 2008 are sponsored by Marc's Tattooing and Body Piercing, Electric City Harley-Davidson, The Weekender, Holiday Inn, Joe Nardone's Gallery of Sound, and Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Isis the Scientist said...

Ow, D.B.! You don't have skewers through all parts of your body, do you?

D.B. Echo said...

My dear Dr. Isis, I hate needles. Which makes those every-eight-weeks blood donations that much more interesting.

Michelle D said...


He has no skewers, but he's covered in tattoos.