YALE, Okla. (KFOR) – The organizer for the Red Bud Balloon Festival in Yale, Okla., allegedly sent a profane text to an attendee amid a mass calling for refunds as patrons claim they got nothing close to what they paid for.
The story is still blowing up after becoming widespread in mid-April. The event organizer, Kevin Anderson, originally sent KFOR a memo that can be seen in our previous stories where he originally said no refunds would be given.
Now, it appears some folks are getting their money back and then some. A phone number associated with Anderson had a suggestion for what one of the ticket buyers for the festival could spend his refund on. The text suggested he could spend it on deodorant, before calling the ticket buyer a low life. However, at this point it doesn’t appear that everyone is getting their money back.
“It’s frustrating,” said Karyn Allacher, an attendee of the festival. “We feel like we really were taken for almost $40 for nothing.”
“It was really just a big scam in my opinion,” said Evan Rhodd, a patron who ended up getting a refund after the festival. “Nothing was advertised correctly on the flyer.”
More fallout from the balloon festival is rearing its ugly head. Patrons and even food truck vendors said the festival advertised hot air balloons, a taco fiesta and even a car show. However, all they got was an empty field.
“He’s really scamming people,” Melinda Foshee said. The owner of Macarena’s Street Café food truck, who was at the festival and decided to leave. “He was falsely advertising a festival that wasn’t really going to happen.”
“I was like, ‘Are we in the wrong place,’” said Carrie Houston, an attendee of the festival. “I was so confused and then I got really angry.”
After several demands for refunds by patrons, like Evan Rhodd, some have been granted.
“I was like great,” Rhodd said. “That’s awesome.”
However, Rhodd said he got more than just that. After texting a number associated with festival organizer Anderson, he received a profane filled response. In the interest of transparency, Rhodd said he did send a text to the number associated with Anderson using profanity and name-calling first. The text back to Rhodd read, “I authorized refunds for all the crybaby cheap expletive out there so you’d stop whining. Payback’s a expletive you’ll see. Go spend it on some expletive deodorant dumb expletive low life.”
“I was really kind of shocked,” Rhodd said. “Something that is really out of character for a business owner. Nobody I would want to deal with in the future.”
For others, like Karyn Allacher, who said she paid for her family’s admission with cash at the gate, that refund hasn’t come yet.
“I would like a refund,” Allacher said. “It was just extreme disappointment on our part.”
KFOR continued to reach out to Anderson via phone, email and text message. However, the only response we received referred us back to the original memo, which reads, “for those who purchased tickets to the 2021 Redbud Balloon Festival without reading the refund policy, I encourage you to thoroughly (sic) read the policies for the tickets you are purchasing.”
“We just really felt taken advantage of,” Allacher said.
As far as KFOR knows, the people who have been refunded used a specific online payment site. Other than that, everyone is still waiting to see if they will get a refund. The Payne County Sheriff’s Office did confirm Thursday afternoon that they are investigating the incident. However, they would not elaborate on what they were investigating. They only said that some of this is a civil matter, but other parts could be criminal.