The alluring, high-pitched whir of the tattoo gun in action. The smell of fresh-baked deliciousness in the air. The beauty and coolness of original art to view and even take home as your own.

What do these things have in common? They’re all part of the unique Tattoos for Community event happening this weekend at Jack Brown’s Tattoo Revival in downtown Fredericksburg.

Bottom line: This weekend, there are lots of ways you can help others and have a great time.

“Tattoos for Community is Jack Brown’s Tattoo Revival’s annual event to raise money and awareness for local nonprofits in Fredericksburg,” said Tawnia Brown, manager at the tattoo studio. “It’s a two-day event of walk-in tattoos, bake sale and art raffle, where 100 percent of all funds raised go to a different local nonprofit each year.”

The popular TFC events have been taking place at the studio on Princess Anne street for 13 years. In that span, tens of thousands of dollars have been raised and donated to groups helping people and animals in the Fredericksburg region.

This year, the recipient organization is particularly moving for Brown and her merry group of pixilated, pierced philanthropists: Funds raised will go to support the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault.

RCASA was the beneficiary of Jack Brown’s very first TFC fundraiser.

“Thirteen years later, the event has grown and become more successful,” Brown said. “We decided this was the year to circle back around to the beginning and offer RCASA help again.”

Brown has a personal connection to RCASA. At one point in those now-distant days, she was a volunteer for the group’s 24-hour confidential crisis hotline.

She recalls seeing how dedicated members of the organization were to helping survivors of sexual violence, particularly in letting survivors know they are not alone.

For the men and women who work to support RCASA today—including many volunteers —the TFC event is not only a huge financial help but a true moment of encouragement.

“One of our goals is to help build a community in which survivors of sexual violence feel safe to talk about their experiences,” Christina Berben, RCASA’s executive and clinical director, told Weekender. “Support from businesses like Jack Brown’s and their event, Tattoos for Community, helps bring awareness to the topic of sexual violence and creates an environment in which survivors feel safe—and encouraged—to have a voice.

“Jack Brown’s takes this fun event seriously,” she said.

Readers might think that getting a tattoo is mandatory to support the cause, but that’s decidedly not the case. Certainly tattoos can be had. But a bake sale onsite offers one and all a chance to indulge their sweet tooth and support the spirit of the event.

And an art raffle gives everyone who takes a chance on buying a raffle ticket the opportunity to get some really cool original art from talented local artists—including the acclaimed artists at Jack Brown’s itself, who donate 100 percent of their salaries over the weekend.

“Working the TFC event is a wild, fast-paced whirlwind of a weekend,” said tattoo artist Dustin Mugridge. “Every year I’ve done it, I’m amazed how much of this town will turn up for a good cause, and humbled by the opportunity to do something meaningful for our community.

“A community like ours, that takes care of our family, is something I’ll always enjoy giving back to,” he said.

Unlike the normal appointment-driven tattoo day, the artists open the studio early on this special weekend, and take customers on a first-come, first-served basis.

That’s particularly helpful for folks looking to get inked, as sometimes these artists are booked days, weeks or even months in advance.

And because of that, people queue up early for the opportunity to get inked for a good cause.

“For participants getting tattooed at the event, it’s a different kind of experience than a normal tattoo appointment (where for the most part you are interacting one on one with your artist),” said Brown. “During TFC everyone is talking, sharing and interacting. The lobby is packed with people, and participants line up down the block before we open the doors. Every single person attending is there because they want to be a force for good in our community.”

The event continues to grow in numbers and support raised. In fact, in 2013 the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce awarded Jack Brown’s Tattoo Revival its Chamber Goodwill Award for leadership in philanthropic endeavors.

That year, TFC raised money for Loisann’s Hope House, a nonprofit that helps homeless children and families.

“People may sometimes feel overwhelmed about the many terrible things happening in the world and wonder how one person can ever make a difference,” said Brown. “Helping in your local community is the place to start.”

And the folks at RCASA are already thankful for the community support.

“Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault provides specialized services to both adult and youth survivors of sexual violence,” said Berben. “We offer a safe, welcoming, and healing environment in which survivors and their loved ones find support.”

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