Friday, September 27, 2013

Shocktoberfest 'Naked & Scared' Organizer Responds To Being Shut Down

Yesterday we reported that the nude haunted house component of the long-running Shocktoberfest in Berks County, Penn., was denied a permit to operate.

While the regular event would continue, the "Naked And Scared Challenge" nude portion introduced by Shocktoberfest organizer Patrick Konopelski was downgraded to an underwear scare -- and local municipality officials cited incorrect permit filing as the reason for rejecting the request.

Shocktoberfest is operated on land that exists within two municipalities, Township of Spring and the Borough of Sinking Spring, and the question of "which" side would host the nudity has led to an interesting look at small-town Pennsylvania politics.

However, local news station WFMZ also reports that while Jay Vaughan, Spring Township Manager, reiterated his statement to us about the reason behind the rejection, County Commissioner Christian Leinbach called the event an embarrassment to Berks County.

On his Facebook page he said, "Someone that would introduce this to our community in order to make a buck doesn't think much of our community."

Of course, while it was the Township, not the county, that rejected organizer Patrick Konopelski's permit for the "Naked And Scared" event, this does introduce an opinion that goes beyond just red tape.

For his part, it sounds like Konopelski is not looking to drag out this challenge any further -- this year -- in a statement to us, he seemed to attribute the rejection of the permit for the nude portion more as a result of unwanted attention on the township and less to red tape.
"When we designed The Naked and Scared Challenge, our goal was to bring our customer's an experience like they have never seen before. We had no idea how quickly it would spread across the country and the world. It was the talk of countless morning radio shows, the Today Show, Jay Leno, CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, AOL, Newspapers around the country, and abroad such as UK, Canada, Australia, and Scandinavia. In its original design, we were offering the 'nude' or 'prude' options. Although the Naked and Scared Challenge is legal, due to this worldwide attention, it has been requested by our township officials not of offer the 'nude' option. Not wanting to engage in a battle with our municipalities we have decided to concede. We are still offering the 'prude' option of going through the Unknown with nothing but your underwear. We still feel confident this experience will be very intense. In discussing this with Spring township officials, we may be able to offer the 'nude' option next year. Stay tuned…"
And Konopelski naturally leads us to a final note. Whatever the reason the township denied the permit, Shocktoberfest was quite likely to attract a lot of visitors due to the event. And those organizers would probably need a place to stay and eat while visiting the area, and that puts money into the community. Now that the nude portion has been nixed -- whether it is due to enforcing permit policy or not -- they may have lost some tourists seeking the novelty of "Naked And Scared." And some other town will most assuredly pick up the slack, eventually, by hosting their own naked haunted house.

-Aaron Sagers

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