Slay the Bay tattoo convention in Erie will feature artists, live music, vendors

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Ink lovers rejoice!

Slay the Bay, Erie’s first ever large-scale tattoo convention, will take place Friday through Sunday at the Bayfront Convention Center. The convention will bring nearly 100 tattoo artists from across the country to share their specialized styles with customers.

EJay Fyke, Ryan Quinn and Ashlee Ybanez were the coordinators of the event. Garrett Ybanez was also involved in its creation. Quinn and Garrett Ybanez from InkXpression in Erie were traveling to tattoo conventions around the world when Quinn and Garrett decided it was time for them to bring this experience to their hometown.

Tattoo artist Garrett Ybanez, left, works on a design for customer Tom Kolb, 59, right, on Dec. 14, 2021, at InkXpression tattoo shop in Millcreek Township. Ybanez, 30, and colleague Ryan Quinn, 32, center, are coordinating the upcoming "Slay the Bay" tattooing convention.

“It’s been an ongoing thing the city has been behind on,” Quinn said. “We wanted to bring Erie up to speed on the tattoo world and bring some different artists to the city that we wouldn’t really see.”

Even if tattoos are not your thing, there are many other activities available. The weekend will offer many opportunities to shop at local vendors, listen to live music, and enjoy the entertainment of The Impurity, Real Fake Doors, First to Eleven, and other artists.

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Slay the Bay features many tattoo artists

  • Ben Chappy, Prodigy Tattoo, Trenton, Ohio
  • Los Chapos Ink, a Texas-based traveling team, is here.
  • Jay Hawkins, The Tattoo Shop Lansing Michigan
  • Brittany Brown-Sines, Pinch-N-Poke Tattoo Studio, Lock Haven
  • Geoff O’Brien, Wheeling (West Virginia) Special Effects Tattoo
  • Howard Pepper, VI Straight Tattoo, Somerset

Slay the Bay will also have a kids zone with bounce houses, and food and beverages provided by the Bayfront Convention Center.

“We’re trying to keep it a family-friendly event,” Quinn said. “It’s just an advantage to say, ‘Hey, if you don’t have anything to do for the day, you don’t have to get a babysitter, just come to the tattoo convention.'”

Are you in search of new inks?

Quinn explained that bringing a range of tattooing skills to Erie allows people looking for new ink to shop for a style they might not otherwise find, Quinn stated.

He said that if you are looking for something simpler, there is no better time to get tattooed then when you can just walk in. It’s possible to have custom designs done as well as pre-drawn ones. It’s super convenient.”

Paul Comanescu, a tattoo artist at Black Water Ink in Niles, Ohio, is one of many artists with a booth at the convention. Comanescu has traveled to Erie dozens of times and is excited to come back for Slay the Bay.

He stated, “The community artists come to one another in themselves is just blessing.” He added, “Plus it will be great work with super-talented persons and network.”

Comanescu has already reserved one weekend for tattooing. He plans to spend the other two connecting with fellow artists.

Tattoo artist Garrett Ybanez, 30, works on a design for customer Tom Kolb, 59, on Dec. 14, 2021, at InkXpression tattoo shop in Millcreek Township. Ybanez is a coordinator for the upcoming "Slay the Bay" tattooing convention.

Slay the Bay will also be a chance for the artists to showcase their talents in tattooing competitions. There will be awards like Tattoo of the Day and Most Unique with a Best in Show award to close out the weekend.

“It’ll be engaging,” Quinn said. “Everyone has witnessed a competition in tattoos but not everyone.”

Quinn hopes that the Erie region will celebrate Christmas earlier and support local businesses, as well as his team’s talent.

Symone Crockett, 27, left, joins Slay the Bay tattoo event coordinators and tattoo artists Garrett Ybanez, 30, center, and Ryan Quinn, 32, on Dec. 14, 2021, at InkXpression tattoo shop in Millcreek Township.

“I want people to come down to this event and meet these artists who have traveled from all over to come and tattoo,” Quinn said. I would love to see Erie participating in this and getting a piece.

For information, visit or, or email: [email protected].

If you go

  • What: Slay the Bay Tattoo Convention
  • When: Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 a.m., Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Where: Bayfront Convention Center, 1 Sassafras Pier in Erie
  • Admission: Tickets can be purchased at Weekend package: $41.25, Singe day: $21

Baylee DeMuth can be reached at 814-450-3425 or [email protected]. Follow BayleeDeMuth via Twitter @BayleeDeMuth.

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