A Tribute to




Are Thoughts and Prays are with you KIM



Franco Kossa a.k.a. Franco Zoob died on Monday May 2, 2011


He had recently had open heart surgery following the Sideshow Gathering in November. Yesterday he fell unconscious at home and died on the way to the hospital after having passed a clot resulting from the surgery.

The Viewing will be held this Saturday May 7, from 2pm-4pm. Followed immediately by the Service at 4pm to be held at:

Snowdon Funeral Home
140 N. Main St., Shavertown

(570) 675-3333


Franco is the founder of The Sideshow Gathering which takes place along with the Inkin' The Valley Tattoo Convention in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Franco's friends and family plan to continue the Sideshow Gathering and the tattoo convention this year as a memorial to Franco. This year will be the 10th Annual Sideshow Gathering and will continue as scheduled the first weekend in November.

Franco's body is being cremated and he will continue to be with us at the Gathering.

Franco leaves behind his wife Kim, and countless friends from the tattoo and sideshow communities.

He will be missed dearly by all who knew him.

Cards and Flowers can be sent directly to the funeral home.


Frank S. "Franco" Kossa

Visit Guest Book

May 2, 2011

Frank "Franco" S. Kossa, 45, of Sugarloaf Township, died suddenly Monday, May 2, 2011, in the Hazleton General Hospital. Born in Pierce County, Washington, Frank was a son of the late Joann Falvo Kossa and Frank J. Kossa, Wilkes-Barre. He was a graduate of Bishop Hoban High School, Wilkes-Barre, and Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke. Frank was a member of Boy Scouts of America, and he was proud to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. He was the founder of Zoob Productions, former owner of The Game Studio, co-founder of Inkin' the Valley Tattoo Convention, founder of its SideShow Gathering, and owner of Marc's Tattooing and Body Piercing, Luzerne County. Surviving, in addition to his father, are his wife, the former Kim Hogans, Sugarloaf Township; brother, Rick A. Kossa, currently serving in the
U.S. Navy in Afghanistan; and beloved pets, Max, Fester, Spanky and Thomas. Funeral Services will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday from the Harold C. Snowdon Funeral Home Inc., 140 N. Main St., Shavertown. The Rev. James A. Wert will officiate. Interment will be made at the convenience of the family. Friends may call from 2 p.m. until the time of services Saturday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hazleton Animal Shelter, 101 N. Poplar St., Hazleton, PA 18201. Condolences may be sent to the Kossa family via email at snowdonfuneral@frontier.com.


Area Tattoo, Bodypiercing Entrepreneur Dies


Frank “Franko” Kossa was also co-founder of Inkin’ the Valley Tattoo Convention.


Frank "Franko" Kossa, of Sugarloaf Township, who just recently became sole owner of Marc's Tattooing and Body Piercing shops in Luzerne County, passed away Monday due to health complications. He was 45.

After graduating from Bishop Hoban High School and Luzerne County Community College, Franko became involved in trading card and role playing games.

He opened his first business, The Game Studio, in Wilkes-Barre, and after years of running the business, his other love, sideshow acts, led him to become co-founder of the Inkin the Valley Tattoo Convention and founder of its Sideshow Gathering.

"While he did co-own Marc's Tattooing (in Luzerne County) he wasn't a tattoo artist. He was a business man," said Mat Dapkins of Ashley, who worked as an apprentice under Franko and Marc Fairchild, the name behind the business, at their Hazleton location. "He's a very business-savvy person. I learned to always try to smile and to be a good person from what he taught."

And though he was business oriented, he always brought a sense of togetherness with whomever he worked with.

"'He looked at us as a huge family," said Steve Gulbin of Drums, who worked closely with Kossa his whole professional career"  I've been with him for about 13 years. He was the business end of the shop -- the brains behind the operation -- and he constantly had ideas. He always looked towards getting people into the family."

And by family, Gulbin means the multiple tattoo shops in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.

"Franko held us all to a higher standard, and he was adamant about that, about making sure we were the best of the best. He totally was a kid at heart and definitely cared very deeply for everyone around him. If you were within his circle, he would do anything for you."

His old partner, Fairchild, recalled the start of their professional and personal relationship nearly two decades ago.

"Frank and I go back a long way, back to the beginning of the Inkin' the Valley Tattoo Convention. It was his brainchild and he brought me in on it," said the now-retired North Carolina resident. "We thought of more stuff to do with that, and helped each other out over the years. Everything came together pretty well.

"He will be sorely missed, that's for sure."




Kim, I offer you my deepest sympathy for your loss.  Frank was a generous and loving man who created for this group of people a haven where once a year we could gather in his presence to share the love of our different lifestyle, and our respect for one another.  His compassion for humans who desired to decorate their flesh and those who wished to present themselves to the world in unusual ways,   Frank provided a method for us to gather together and get to know him and each other, as no one else was ever able to do.   Frank and his selfless work will always be remembered.  I feel honored that I could call him my friend.  I expect that he is now working to assemble a "Sideshow Gathering" in Heaven for all our people who have gone on before us.  




In memoriam,  Ward Hall and Chris Christ

Thank You Brother for Keeping the Candle Burning, you will be missed.  Kim you are in our prays.


John Robinson

Sideshow World


Dear Friends of the Sideshow,

We have just learned that Franco Kossa, the organizer of the annual Sideshow Gathering, has died. Franco had a true love for the Sideshow arts and gave us all a place where wanderers could feel at home. At the Sideshow Gathering, I was given a chance to sit at the feet of some of the legends of the industry and listen to them cut up jackpots. While I listened and learned, Franco hovered in the background, holding it all together and making it work.

Our thoughts are with Kim Kossa, his widow, and with the many friends that we met through his efforts. RIP Franco!


Paul (aka Dr. Wilson)


His legacy was the Gathering, an inarguably wonderful thing that no one with half a grain of sense could ever disparage. It brought show folk together in a way that h...ad fallen into nothing over the years, with the change in carnival and sideshow, and he's owed a massive debt by the sideshow community. Hey, I told him not to do the Gathering when he came to me first about it, and his reaction was perfect: "Yeah, but..." And he did it. We're all in debt to him.


James Taylor - Shocked & Amazed


According to Franco's wife Kim's FaceBook page, Franco has passed away. No details at this point.

For those that don't know, Franco was the man behind the annual Inkin' the Valley and Sideshow Gathering.

Our thoughts are with Kim. Franco was a wonderful man, had a pure love of sideshow, and he will be deeply missed.


Stephon - aka Swami Yomahmi




You took a little piece of me with you. I will love you & miss you each & everyday forever. RIP my dear husband Franco.  Kim

We cannot express our shock at this loss. Charon & I send all our best wishes for peace and clarity in this unimaginable time. As times settle, keep us posted about any memorial get together as we want to pay our respects to one who touched our community so deeply.
Alex Kensington-


Franco, my friend, friend to many, words fail to express our grief. You left this world a better place than you found it, and touched so many lives, and no one could ask for a better epitaph. You will be dearly missed, and your legacy will live on.
John Spitzer


Franco, you created something bigger than yourself and brought us all along for the ride - and even knew when to let somebody else drive. But it couldn't have happened without your vision and passion. Thanks, brother. It was an honor to know you.
James Mundie


Only had the chance to meet Franco once, at this last year's Sideshow Gathering -- he made a real impression on us with his passion and fire. We were impressed with the the respect and affection everyone felt for him - us included. Our family's thoughts are with his. - the Bartlett-Nealeigh & FreakShow Deluxe.


Thomas Nealeigh


Sad news is confirmed. I got a phone call earlier this evening but I wanted to wait to post the news until it was public.

Franco had a great love of the sideshow and huge amounts of time and money to help it grow and continue. His work in creating the Sideshow Gathering, and keeping it going for these past ten years, will not be forgotten by anyone who had the honor to performed there or was able to attend. It is the only place where you could see so many acts and such diverse acts. The one time a year we can all get together and actually see each others shows and cut up some jackpots afterward. Sometimes he was gruff and almost all of the time he wasn't a man of many words, however his actions truly spoke for his passions: great tattoos, variety arts, and his wonderful wife Kim.

Thanks to Franco I met so many performers, historians, and enthusiasts. I'm sure that it true for everyone who attended too.

Let's honor his work and be ready and willing to lend an hand, give thoughtful advice, and do whatever it takes to make the future of sideshows and variety arts better as we move forward pass our tears for the loss of such a good friend.

Please keep Kim in your thoughts and prayers.

Keep the candle burning


Michael K

Photograph by Dee Longo

This is extremely sad news. Franco was such a driving force behind the scenes in the sideshow community. His influence and drive for the industry will be sorely missed.



I'm still processing the news and am saddened that the world has lost a true giant with a heart of gold. My heart goes out to everyone who's been hit by this loss especially to Kim. 
Danny Borneo




by Mitchell Klein


I'm sorry to hear that you went on to a place of pure happiness and wished us all, "Good Bye!" But Franco you were a brother to us and we afr staying here to help Kim in these hard times. So as I remember of what your Ancestors would say,
John Red Lawrence Stuart


Just found out. Franco was a great little man, who was larger than life. May his family always know what he did for the sideshow community.
George McArthur - aka George the Giant


Wishes to express his heartfelt and sincerest condolences, concerning the untimely loss of Franco Zoob - tattoo artist and founder/coordinator of the beloved annual Inkin' in the Valley and Sideshow Gathering. This goes out to not only his lovely and supportive wife Kim, but the entire sideshow community as a whole. I sadly was neve...r able to make it to any of the Gatherings (for various personal reasons), and thusly also never got to meet Franco in person either. I do however truly understand and appreciate his personal sacrifices and commitment to this industry. Thusly, myself (as well as everyone else within this tightknit community) certainly feel his loss now, and will for a very long time to come. His vision and persistence gave all us freaks, geeks, oddballs, weirdos and misfits a true home (if only once a year), where we could be in the presence of friends, family, and fellow artists and entertainers. It was a place to not only observe and gawk, but to hopefully learn something as well - a truly fullfilling and enlightening experience for all in attendance. Hopefully this dream will not die, along with the man who started it all. For his and Kim's sake, let's all keep the freak flag flying at full mast - we owe him at least that much. May You Rest in Peace Franco... ;o)


Mark Frierson


A lot of guys you meet may call you "brother." It's an affectation sometimes or sometimes a way of making up for not remembering names. Franco called many of us "brother." But when he said it, it sounded real. It sounded from the heart. And now that he's gone, that "brother" feels so very right. I truly feel like I have lost a "brother."

Pete Genovese


I had the Honor of meeting Franco this past November at "The Gathering", We should all be so Blessed as to cover our own Banners as he covered his, tenfold, He was as genuine and REAL as they come.. Although I only met him recently, He made me feel as if I had known him forever, My prayers and thoughts are with him and with those he left behind.


Jim Z - The Curator of Unusual


It's so hard to believe that Franco is gone. Whenever I was able to attend a gathering, he welcomed me with open arms. He had realized a vision that was dwarfed only by his huge heart and love of what he did. He will be sadly missed and forever with those of us who had the honor of knowing him.
Ses Carny


Franco was a big Sideshow fan, had a love for the sideshow arts, and put together an annual gathering where sideshow performers and fans could all meet and cut up jackpots. Franco always did whatever he could to help preserve the sideshow arts and make sideshow folks feel welcome.

Franco was 45 last November, and is survived by his widow Kim Kossa.  Our thoughts are with Kim, and with the many friends who knew him through the Sideshow Gathering.  


Dan Meyer

Photograph by Mitchell Klein


I was very shocked & saddened to read this post about Francos death.  The sideshow lost one of its best friends.  Had not heard anything about him being ill.

Rest In Peace Franco Kossa.  I hope someone is helping his wife through this tragic time.


Ricky Hargrove

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend Franco Zoob. Franco, you created someplace very special for all of our community to gather once a year. As James said it was a little like what the showmen's clubs were like. Were we could all get together and cut up the jackpots. You were a stand up man that I am lucky to have gotte...n to know over the years! You always were good to me and I wont ever forget that! You put in endless hours to make things happen and you never asked for anything in return. We will always be grateful for what you have done for us! I am sure many a great showmen have greated you with open arms up in the midway in the sky! Thanks for the show and our thoughts are with your family.


Kevin Gerrone




Being the consummate awkward little girl that I am, I have always found it difficult to be with a group of people I didn't feel abnormal around, until I met Frank and Kim. Years ago, as Melissa and I were riding from Pittsburgh to Reading, I felt so nervous about meeting this whole new world all these new people, as I was so used to being on the outside of every circle. I felt that same way walking through the hotel to the convention itself, butterflies in my stomach and wet palms, until I saw your face, Frank. Never have I met another person so open, yet so private. Never have I felt such an immediate sense of welcoming and belonging and warmth as I did when at these shows and with these people, with you. To this day, I repeat the stories of the time I spent with you guys to all my friends and family, and my sincere desire to be a part of it all again. Thank you, Frank, for welcoming me into your Home, your Life, your Family, and your World. It afforded me the opportunity to be a part of something I had always desired to be a part of. Not only do I speak of the amazing Sideshow world itself, but of the acceptance, love, and unity that is felt throughout it; things that are, sadly, all too rare, on our planet.

Though the years and our different paths in life have not provided me a chance to go back, I have never forgotten your generosity, love, and acceptance; not only for me, but for everyone who was ever lucky enough to be a part of you, your family, and what you helped to create. And, I never will forget it. You and Kim have touched me very deeply and I am so, so appreciative. Thank you so much, my friend. I will continue to miss you, even more than I did before, and will forever be grateful for everything that you and your beautiful family shared with me.


With Much Love and Respect, Carrie Leonard


To Kim and Franco's family, my very best wishes for a very sad time. Franco was a good man in all the ways that count. He was loved and admired. He will be missed.
D.B. Doghouse


I can't believe that Franko has passed on. He unselfishly gave to us a wonderful week-end each year. Something to look forward to - something that will always be on our calendar. Many working in the side show world owe much to Franko and his wife Kim for putting on the side show gatherings. Over the years many performers arrived as amateurs and went away as pros. This is just a sad week only buoyed up by the fact that Franko's friends will keep the gathering going in his memory. It is going to be hard not seeing that great smile again but it will remain in my mind forever. His love of the business and his genuine interest in others will always be remembered. Our best thoughts go out to Kim and their families and friends.

Al Stencell


Franco gave me my first chance to work a convention and I will be forever grateful...not to mention that in the 10 years since that he treated our shop and my employees as if they were apart of his family.....one of the most honest and personable people I ever had the pleasure to deal with.....if you guys need anything and we can help please don't hesitate it's the least we could do....thanks for many wonderful times The Crew of Northern Lights Tattoos.




Franco was the first one to believe in me and let me perform at The Sideshow Gathering so many years ago! He was a real nice man and I hope his family is okay! I will pray for them!

Mystic Marlow






by Mitchell Klein


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