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‘Redmond Taco & Margarita Festival,’ facing criticism, postponed until next year amid vendor, other issues

(Update: adding video, comments from fairgrounds director, Iowa resident)

Attendees voice concerns after other areas share bad festival experience

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Redmond Taco & Margarita Festival, planned for Sept. 25 at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center, has been postponed until next year due to vendor, staffing and other issues that had prompted warnings and complaints from attendees at previous stops, the fairgrounds manager said Wednesday after speaking with event organizers.

NewsChannel 21 reported Tuesday how word had spread on Reddit and elsewhere that the event sponsored by AZ Food Festivals had failed to live up to expectations for many elsewhere, with long lines and fewer vendors than expected.

Fairgrounds Director Geoff Hinds said Wednesday he’d met over the phone with AZ Festivals earlier in the day and raised the concerns. He learned they only had eight of the 10 vendors they’d contracted for signed up at this point.

“They’re close, but not exactly to what they had indicated on their posts and website,” Hinds told NewsChannel 21. “They indicated they’d struggled in other markets to get the vendors,” as well as COVID restrictions and hiring issues.

“So they decided it would make more sense to postpone until next year, to meet the promises they’ve made and that we would require and expect,” Hinds said, adding that the company promised a full refund to anyone who bought tickets and doesn’t want to just wait until next year.

As for the postponement, Hinds said, “Ultimately, at the end of the day, the decision is theirs to make, and certainly we support that. We want to make sure not only our contract language, but to match promises they made to the community.”

Earlier story:

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Food trucks, several bars, live music and more are what's promised at the upcoming Taco and Margarita Festival. It'll be at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center on Saturday, Sept. 25, hosted by AZ Food Festivals LLC, based in Arizona.

Lizzie Mosby lives in Des Moines, Iowa, where she attended the same festival a few weeks ago.

"From the very beginning, it was a nightmare," she told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday.

Mosby said she paid $50 for a VIP ticket, but that it seemed like everyone had a VIP ticket.

"There was a little 3-foot bar space. There were no toppings left, at all." Mosby said. "The food trucks were so backed up that people were waiting an hour and a half for their food."

The festival has gained attention on social media, as attendees have been posting complaints from at least five states, many of them talking about only one or two taco trucks being there and having to wait in long lines.

Mosby thinks the event was poorly organized.

Geoff Hinds, director of the Deschutes County Fairgrounds & Expo Center, said the event has been planned for several months, but they just became aware of the complaints from other states.

"It's something we certainly take seriously, and we're aware of the concerns, and we want to make sure that we understand what the event producer is planning to do," he told NewsChannel 21.

"We'll work with them to ensure that the promises they've made to our community are the ones that they're going to keep." Hinds added.

Hinds says he has a meeting with the event organizer Wednesday to discuss logistics.

NewsChannel 21 reached out to the event organizer, but has not heard back.

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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.

Comments

38 Comments

  1. Implying “in print” that this is scam without any details to substantiate the claim isn’t either journalism or responsible reporting – even if it’s just meant as a tease to increase viewership. This event may well be a disappointing and expensive experience for fans of a good margarita, but to report it like this isn’t a credit to anyone associated with KTVZ. Real news please.

  2. This festival is a total scam and Deschutes County should pull the plug on it right now. Just read about what happened with this ‘festival’ in Portland. Super long lines, ran out of tacos, super rude people running it…. Doesn’t sound like a fun time to me

      1. Idaho is nicely disease ridden and backwards these days! A great place for the failed hillbilly trump collective!! Tank tops, discount smokes and little ceasers pizza for everyone there!!

  3. If this is all fairly well substantiated, let the festival continue and then boycott. The event organizers will still have to pay the fairgrounds and possibly learn a painful lesson with their wallets.

  4. I read where the event in Pittsburg, Pa had one food truck and only 3 flavors of margaritas. But then again, I don’t travel to Pittsburg for my Mexican food.

  5. To be fair I believe Redmond,Oregon has quite a few places that do high quality Mexican food.
    La Frontera/Carnaval/Madaline’s/Lucy’s are all great in my experience. Even Rigoberto’s is nice if you are looking for something quick for drive through.

  6. Good we don’t need all the border crossers coming in to Redmond and getting drunk on margarita’s and having a big party oops I mean festival. They would of brought even more cases of covid with them.

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