Downtown Columbus will be a sinfully good place for body art aficionados this weekend when the ninth-annual Hell City Tattoo fest rolls into town. The best tattoo artists and body piercers from around the world will be showing off their top-notch craftsmanship.

Why you should go:

Downtown Columbus will be a sinfully good place for body art aficionados this weekend when the ninth-annual Hell City Tattoo fest rolls into town. The best tattoo artists and body piercers from around the world will be showing off their top-notch craftsmanship.

The festival packs tons of attractions and events into three days - competitions, art exhibitions, workshops, live music, freak shows, Suicide Girls and more.

The daily tattoo competitions are a must-see. Check out some of the best work around - or, for only $10, you can enter to see how your own ink measures up (there's even a category for worst tattoo if you've ever made a regrettable decision).

What's new:

Friday night's Triple Book Release Party unveils a trio of titles produced within the tattoo industry. "Pint Size Paintings," edited by Hell City founder Durb Morrison, features over 120 artists using miniscule brushes and magnifying glasses to create two-inch-by-three-inch masterpieces.

"Tattoo Prodigies" profiles today's cutting-edge artists with rich, colorful images and in-depth interviews. "Innerstate" is a book-and-DVD combo chronicling a live painting event from last year's festival.

What to Eat & Drink:

Plenty of grills will be fired up to broil burgers, Italian sausages and hot dogs for Saturday's Cookout from Hell, running 5-9 p.m. During the cookout, a full banquet bar will serve up Finlandia vodka, Jack Daniel's and 32 oz. beers for $10, with $5 refills.

Need more? Big Bar on 2 inside the Hyatt is open during the festival and stocked with all kinds of libations.

Entertainment:

A trio of quality local bands will rock out all weekend on the main stage. Ska octet The Aesthetics kick things off at 7 p.m. Friday. You don't want to miss local legends Two Cow Garage, playing at 7 p.m. Saturday. Hard-rock trio Cadaver Dogs finish up 2 p.m. Sunday.

Plus, Saturday showcases instrumental music produced by the tattoo industry - everything from psychedelic rhythms to dubstep and electro - at the Proton Music Premiere Party from 9 p.m.-2 a.m.

Don't Miss:

Who doesn't love a good freak show? The Cutthroat Freakshow is back this year with some seriously messed-up stuff. Fire breathing and knife juggling is the tame portion of this show. When the giant hooks and broken glass come out, you know you're in for a macabre performance.