WEST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – After a Mac n’ Cheese Festival in West Peoria fell short of ticket buyer expectations, vendors and staff of the host venue said they are frustrated with the situation as well.
The Mac n’ Cheese Festival held this past Saturday was advertised as a weekend of delicious food and live music, but some said it didn’t live up to that billing.
“We were all supposed to get free t-shirts, which I did not get, and I got four samples of mac n’ cheese for $60 dollars,” said Kayla Rockhold, a festival-goer.
Those who attended the festival aren’t the only ones who feel like they were burned by the event.
“I was contacted by the organizers numerous times about bringing more food because he guaranteed we’d run out,” said Mike Therry, owner of Mike’s Knot Just Ribs.
But Therry said he actually had few sales and a conversation with organizer John Govia about compensation led to the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office being called.
“I told him I need X number of dollars to cover my cost for labor and food, and he said, ‘I didn’t make that much money to pay you,'” Therry said.
The manager of Crusen’s, where the event was held, said his business had no affiliation other than being the festival’s location, but he kept in touch with Govia leading up to Saturday.
“I checked in with him probably 10-15 times making sure he had his I’s dotted and his T’s crossed with the health department and the city, and he kept telling me yes, yes, yes,” said Wayne Klein, manager of Crusen’s.
Klein called Saturday a lesson learned for him and he suggests organizers make things right with their ticket buyers.
“I apologize that people had to go through this horrible experience but I have out reached out to him several times and said he needs to do a blanket refund,” Klein said.
WMBD reached out to the event organizer on Monday for comment, but have not heard back.
According to the Mac n’ Cheese festival website, organizers are planning to hold a Mexican food festival in early August.