(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.”
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.