SOMERS — A “midget” wrestling event will go on as Somers Village Board has approved a special event license for a local tavern.
After a public hearing Tuesday night, the board voted 5-0 in favor of granting a license to the Somers House, 1548 Sheridan Road, for the Micro Wrestling Federation show scheduled for Sept. 24.
The special license allows for the entertainment to take place from 3:30 to 10 p.m. Tavern owners last month had requested a license allowing the event from 5 to 11:30 p.m.
Somers House owner Peter Gochis, during the public hearing, said the start time prescribed was too early and that such events have better attendance during “prime time” hours.
Mark Molinaro, Somers Town Board chairman, asked that the board not “give in” to the tavern owners’ request.
“If this is such a top quality event, they’ll show up at 3:30, they’ll show up at 4 or at 2...I don’t care when they start,” he said asking that the board consider the residents who live nearby.
Gochis’ son, Chris, said they did not have a problem with it ending at 10 p.m., and were not aware of the village’s ordinance, which requires events Sundays through Thursdays to end at 10 p.m.
Meanwhile, in correspondence before the hearing, representatives of the Little People of America called on the board to deny the event license and the tavern to stop holding it.
“If you allow the event to go forward, you will support outdated stereotypes and stigma related to people of short stature and you will reinforce derogatory language used to refer to little people,” wrote Gary Arnold, a member and past president of the 7,000-member organization.
“Midget Wrestling is defined by marketing little people as an entertainment spectacle, just as little people were put on display based upon their physical differences during the days of the traditional sideshow and Freak Show.”
Peter Gochis defended the event for its entertainment value and said the wrestlers are professionals who make a living as entertainers and have appeared at reputable entertainment venues, from county and state fairs to Chicago’s House of Blues.
“Anyone that is under the opinion that midget wrestling is somehow degrading is certainly entitled to their opinion, however misguided it may be,” he said.