Niagara Tourism Board Confused, Troubled By Adult-Themed Family-Branded Auto Show
At first the Dream Toys Show & Expo rolling into Niagara Falls on January 30-31 seems like a straightforward car, bike, and boat show. There are vendors and displays where sellers will hawk their wares and exchange pleasantries with customers. There are shows in between to keep people amused, including contests like "Best Muscle," "Best Custom Bike," and "Hot Bikini Contest" ($500 1st place!) There are seminars on tattoos, bike maintenance, car audio, plus a bunch more. There's even a karate contest.
The convention, though, also has a skeezier aspect. In the back of the hall there's a VIP Gentleman's Club that kicks off at 6pm Saturday night. The club, such as it is, includes a burlesque show, a "lingerie show," and live music. It also has pole dancers and a bar. Details are sketchy about the degree to which the lingerie remains intact while the live music is playing, but the overarching concept was enough to raise concerns with the Niagara tourism board.
The entire expo, you see, is also being billed as a family event. There's a bounce house set up. The juxtaposition has engendered in board members what psychologists like to call "cognitive dissonance." Or in Internet terms, they were all like wtf:
The mixture of adult and children activities drew immediate concern among the Tourism Advisory Board, which can make a recommendation to the City Council to fund an event. “So this isn’t something I’d want to bring my daughter to, right?” board member Lisa Vitello asked Toromino... Councilman Samuel Fruscione, who serves as liaison to the tourism board, was doubtful the city would be a sponsor. "I think we’re done spending money (on events) right now," he said.
Whether the Board subsidizes the expo or not, it's still being held at the end of January and it's still going to bring much-desired winter dollars into that delightful little tourist trap. And the VIP room, which is pay-only, is hardly more insidious than booth after booth of all but naked women draped over motorized hardware. Have you even been to a motorcycle show? Nothing there is healthy for anyone's daughter.
But you nonetheless have to admire the unblinking "so what" response that promoter Carmen Toromino gave to concerned tourism board members when they pressed him on the issue. Said Toromino: "It’s really just a play on words to make it sound more enticing." What?
[Photo: whiskeyboytx / Flickr]
· Dream Toys Show [Official Site]
· NIAGARA FALLS: A ‘Dream’ event for the city? [Niagara Gazette]
· Niagra Falls [Jaunted]
· Tourism Boards [Jaunted]