NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Our coverage of the Northeast Balloon Festival, which was held in Northampton last weekend, continues.
Before the festival even began, a number of people reached out to us with concerns regarding the company putting on the event, and the complaints have continued this week.
"It was very, very stressful all weekend," Debbie Zakrzewski, manager of Deb's Cafe, tells us.
Food truck owner Debbie Zakrzewski tells Western Mass News she was looking forward to a busy three days at the Northeast Balloon Festival last weekend, but she says the event was far from successful.
"Oh my goodness. Friday, there was hardly anybody there, Saturday night was a good maybe 1,200 to1,500, and, Sunday, I closed my truck at 10:00 in the morning. I made $44 at breakfast. No one was there. The balloons, sometimes, did not go up. She continued to sell tickets at the gate. The people were very, very upset that they came in and started getting upset with us," continued Debbie.
Deb’s Cafe say they were supposed to make at least $10-12,000 over the weekend at the Northeast Balloon Festival, but the owner says they didn’t event make a quarter of that.
"A lot of people are telling us, 'We’re not going to eat your food anymore until you talk to her and we can get our money back'. A lot of vendors are being threatened," says Debbie.
VAP Events, based out of Connecticut, hosted the Balloon Festival.
Over the past few weeks, Western Mass News has reported on the problems people had at their events in Connecticut and New Hampshire.
We reached out to director Veronica Pasloe for her response to the vendors and attendees' complaints about this past weekend.
In a statement, she says:
"The Northeast Balloon Festival's second year was a success and we had very positive guest feedback on social media. 3 out of 5 flights took off, which is higher than the average balloon festival. Unfortunately, balloon activity is weather permitting and any delay or cancellation of balloon activity is strictly a safety concern. We updated guests through social media throughout the event whenever the weather conditions limited the ability for balloons to fly."
Matthew Soulier has been at some of the company's previous events in Connecticut, but says he'll never bring his business to one again.
"For myself, I just saw a lot of deceptive practices from a marketing standpoint promising things to both the vendors, but even more importantly with the public that she wasn’t following through on and we started receiving direct complaints from the public on things that are out of our hands and unmanageable for us as an operation," Matthew Soulier of Bradley Taffy tells us.
The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection does have an open investigation into VAP Events after complaints from from both their Taco and BBQ Festival.