STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – A food truck vendor spoke out Tuesday after a Stillwater Balloon Festival last weekend where patrons that attended said they didn’t get what they paid for.
The planned balloon festival has families feeling deflated. Attendees paid upward of $50 for tickets and said they showed up to what was basically an empty field.
The event organizer blamed the lack of hot air balloon rides on the weather. Kevin Anderson, the organizer, sent KFOR a memo that can be read in full below.
It does not include an actual apology to those who have complained against the event. However, it reads in part, “For those who purchased tickets to the 2021 Redbud Balloon Festival without reading the refund policy…I encourage you to thoroughly read the policies for the tickets you are purchasing.”
The lone food truck vendor who was there said they paid a $150 fee to be there. They claim they were promised both electricity and water to run their business, but said none of that was provided.
“People paid that morning to come into an open field with absolutely nobody there,” said Shannon Newman, owner of Newman’s Firehouse BBQ food truck for six years.
According to Newman, serving food at the festival put on by Red Bud Entertainment was a nightmare.
“It’s just not good for Oklahoma,” she said.
Newman added that they were told 14 other food trucks would be there, but it was just them. They also had barbeque to smoke for 14 hours.
“We couldn’t even finish the whole day out,” she said about them selling out of food early.
Those who attended said they expected hot air balloon rides, a taco fiesta, a car show, horseshoe tournament, a farmer’s market and photo and coloring contests as it was advertised.
“You literally paid money to go look at a field,” said Jessica Wells, an attendee of the festival who took her six-year-old daughter.
“I was like, ‘Are we in the wrong place?’” said Carrie Houston, another attendee of the festival that took her child. “I was so confused and then I got really angry, like, I spent money for this, it was just a joke.”
Those who spoke to KFOR said only one car showed up for the car show and that there were two vendors and the Newman’s Firehouse BBQ food truck.
Folds of Honor was also listed on the advertisement as being a part of the festival. However, they told KFOR that they are in no way affiliated with it. Their full statement can be read below:
“Folds of Honor does not have any affiliation with the Stillwater Balloon Festival or any of its organizers. Our name and logo were used without permission and we were not made aware we would receive any proceeds. Folds of Honor does not sponsor events, as we are a nonprofit organization, and would typically be the beneficiary of such an event.”FOLDS OF HONOR SPOKESPERSON
“It was a waste of money,” said Lisa Hoover, an attendee of the festival.
“I just hope we can make something to where it doesn’t happen again to anybody else,” Houston said.
Everyone KFOR spoke to said they were not informed that the hot air balloon rides would not be available when they showed up. KFOR reached out to Anderson for comment Tuesday afternoon, but did not receive a response. The attorney general’s office said that any complaints sent to them about the festival will be looked into.