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Tattoo lovers from all over are expected to gather in Arlington next weekend for the DC Tattoo Expo.

The 13th annual event, beginning on Friday, Feb. 16, has been “completely revamped” from years prior, according to its hosts, Exposed Temptations Tattoo and Baller Incorporated.

In the past, the expo has offered contests, live entertainment and special guests from the reality show “Ink Master.” This year, attendees can look forward to more live art and entertainment as well as opportunities to shop and get tattoos and body piercings, according to the website.

“It will be the best, not the biggest, but the best show we’ve ever had,” the hosts said.

Returning guests may notice some familiar faces from previous years, including burlesque dancer Cervena Fox and sword-swallowing couple Captain and Maybelle. The Miss DC Pin Up Contest, a fashion contest that determines the best old-school pin-up fashions, will also make a comeback.

Attendees can also showcase the tattoos they came with or those they get while at the expo.

The expo will start at 1 p.m. on Feb. 16 at the Sheraton Pentagon City hotel, located along Columbia Pike at 900 S. Orme Street. It will wrap up on Sunday, Feb. 18. The full event schedule is available on the event website.

Guests can purchase tickets at the door on each day of the expo.

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Rick’s Tattoo on Langston Blvd is moving at the end of the month.

The long-time Arlington tattoo parlor, self-described as the oldest in Virginia, was established in 1980 at 4818 Langston Blvd.

Manager Amy Barrow, who is overseeing the move after 16 years at the tattoo shop, says leaving Arlington — the shop is moving just over the county line to Bailey’s Crossroads — is bittersweet but there were more options, for less money, outside the county.

“Finding a place that meets our needs for as big as we need was difficult,” she said. “There was not much available.”

Rent was expensive and, anticipating plans to redevelop in a few years, some property owners are only offering shorter leases. Barrow instead wanted to find a new location for years to come.

She settled on a storefront in a shopping center in Bailey’s Crossroads at 5916 Leesburg Pike, up the road from a large shopping center where Leesburg Pike and Columbia Pike intersect. The new digs are on the ground floor and have ample parking — both steps up from the current second-floor studio with limited parking spots shared with other businesses.

“We’re just raising the bar, getting to code, and getting ready to ride out another 15 years in a new location,” she said.

Everything entailed with moving — finding contractors, getting permits and dealing with supply chain issues — has prolonged the move. Barrow began looking for a new place in April 2022.

“It’s been challenging,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot [about] how to build a business from the ground floor.”

As for Rick Cherry, the owner of the eponymous shop, he lives in Florida now, traveling the country to tattoo expos and demonstrating his handmade tattooing implements, according to the website for the business.

Over the years, his establishment has racked up recognitions, which hang on available wall space, greeting customers. That reception is a far cry from the cool treatment Cherry got from Arlington when he opened, however.

For the first five years, the county would not let him have a sign outside the door, says Barrow.

“Arlington County did not want him in town,” she said. “He kept them in court for five years. Finally he was able to put a sign on the door. And here we are.”

Hat tip to Buzz McClain

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Morning Notes

Sunny and wet Ballston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Interest Rates Could Slow Development — “Arlington County leaders are preparing for a difficult economic environment for multifamily development, even as they say they’re optimistic about the region’s future… [I]f the Federal Reserve pushes the federal funds rate to 3.5% by year-end as it has targeted, that could have serious repercussions, said Shooshan Co. Chairman John Shooshan, speaking at Bisnow’s Future of Arlington County event on Thursday.” [Bisnow]

Talent Driving Local Tech Strength — “Northern Virginia has become a magnet for the industry, with the Dulles Technology Corridor continuing its growth along the Silver Line and Amazon HQ2 going up in Arlington… Taylor said the upcoming Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria and George Mason’s Fuse at Mason Square in Arlington are two projects that will be pivotal to ‘churning out more talent.'” [Axios]

Funding for DCA Runway Reconstruction — “Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $5,958,173 in federal funding for two Virginia airports… [including] $1,750,000 for Ronald Reagan Washington International Airport in Arlington, VA for the reconstruction of a runway.” [Press Release]

Business Is Booming at Airport — “Concession sales are booming at Reagan National and Dulles International airports as travel continues to rebound from the early days of the Covid pandemic. Since the start of 2022, concessions sales have grown 241% at National and 143% at Dulles.” [Washington Business Journal]

‘CraigPokesU’ Manager Profiled — “Blake Williams has 14 dragon tattoos and 12 piercings. Some of his body art you can see — like the ‘third eye’ on his forehead, the ring in his nose and the letters that spell out ‘kindness’ on his knuckles — while others fall into the ‘that’s private’ category, he says. Williams, 47, is the head piercer and shop manager at CraigPokesU on Langston Boulevard, just up the street from Cowboy Cafe.” [Arlington Magazine]

Arlingtonian Helped to Shape Region — “Chuck Bean has spent 10 years leading the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments… Bean, who lives in Arlington, is unknown to many D.C.-area residents, but as liaison between COG’s 125 staffers and public officials representing 24 counties and cities, he has played a lead role in coordinating regional planning to improve transportation, combat climate change and encourage more housing construction.” [Washington Post]

Street Project Funded in F.C. –“he Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) approved a $22.5 million project funding request from the City on Thursday for transportation improvements on North Washington Street. The North Washington Street Multimodal Improvements Project includes sidewalk widening, improved intersection geometry, signal improvements, crosswalks, utility undergrounding, lighting, and landscaping, between Great Falls Street and Gresham Place.” [City of Falls Church]

It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day and hot. High of 92 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:30 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Thousands of tattoo enthusiasts are expected to flock to Arlington this weekend for the DC Tattoo Expo.

This is the eleventh iteration of the region’s largest body and tattoo expo, which was canceled last year amid the pandemic. It was previously held in Crystal City, but is now moving to the Sheraton Pentagon City (900 S. Orme Street) — which is actually more a mile from Pentagon City, along Columbia Pike.

There will be plenty of tattoo artists, contests, live entertainment, and even a few “Ink Masters,” participants from the long-running reality show.

Organizers are optimistic that up to 15,000 are expected to attend the weekend-long expo, which begins this Friday at 1 p.m. and ends Sunday evening. Masks are encouraged, but not required.

Spokesperson Anna Carswell tells ARLnow that the expo is a safe space where veterans and beginners alike can see and learn about the process of getting a tattoo.

“It’s a place to come and be voyeuristic almost,” Carswell says. “[Tattoos] are not as taboo as they were, but can still be slightly intimidating. Here you can learn what goes into it, the design, and process.”

She says many people come to the expo to get their first tattoo.

There will also be some pretty eclectic live performances throughout the weekend. This includes Captain and Maybelle, world-renowned sword swallowers, burlesque dancer Cervena Fox, and the Miss DC Pin Up Contest on Saturday night.

That’s in addition to contests for best overall body art and best sleeve tattoos.

Carswell says tattoos have become mainstream and popular in recent years, particularly in the D.C. area, but there is still some hesitation among the uninitiated. She says the expo allows people who might be “curious” to learn about and get exposed to tattoo culture.

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Morning Notes

Preservation Battle Brewing — “The historic-preservation advocate who launched a community-driven, albeit ultimately unsuccessful, effort to save the Rouse estate on Wilson Boulevard, is on a new quest. Tom Dickinson has filed paperwork with county officials seeking historic-district status for an East Falls Church home, despite the likelihood that the current property owner aims to raze the home and redevelop the 0.29-acre parcel.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Ranks No. 39 Healthiest in U.S.Updated at 9:20 a.m. — “U.S. News and World Report, in its annual assessment of the ‘healthiest communities in the U.S.,’ has given a staggering third place finish to the City of Falls Church in its latest edition. That’s ahead of all other entities in the entire nation, except for Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Douglas County, Colorado. The magazine listed the top 500 entities in the U.S., and others in this area to finish near the top were Loudoun County at No. 4, Fairfax County at No. 14 and Arlington County at No. 39, the City of Alexandria at No. 124 and Fauquier County at No. 195.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tattoo Shop Opening New Clarendon Location — “Regency’s The Crossing Clarendon is excited to welcome Lady Octopus Tattoos to its second local storefront in the Arlington, VA area later this year. Run by artist Gilda Acosta and co-owner Jonathan Reed, the custom tattoo shop offers high-quality tattoo artistry in addition to selling brand merchandise including t-shirts, enamel pins and more.” [Regency Centers]

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