TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Ticket holders feel left in the dark after they showed up to Christopher Columbus Park Saturday expecting a lantern festival.
The event, which was slated to begin at 5:00 p.m. was canceled earlier in the week after the event organizer decided to reschedule.
The “Light the Night” event organizer told KOLD he sent an email to ticket holders asking if they would like to reschedule. It’s due to the fact that the lantern’s would not be able to float freely as the event promotes. According to TFD, it’s illegal to release lanterns in Tucson. The only way to have the festival would be to have the lanterns be tethered.
The event organizer said due to the response of ticket holders, they decided to postpone. He said he plans to apply for variance to hold it in the same location.
However, the website continued it’s countdown to the event all week and no formal notice was posted on the website.
The event organizer was instructed to do so earlier in the week on Wednesday.
Dalton provided KOLD with a copy of an email from Glenna Overstreet with Tucson Parks and Recreation that said quote: “...Your website is still counting down the time until Saturday’s event in Tucson. Please publicly announce that you have canceled the event.”
It led to some very confused people who pulled into the park Saturday at 5 p.m.
“Oh I was excited," said Betty Herrera. She showed up with her husband Ray after driving all the way from Silver City, New Mexico this morning. They have been to 4 lantern festivals in the past and were excited to be coming to this one. Especially since they would be celebrating a milestone.
“it’ll be our 42nd anniversary pretty soon and that’s what we wanted to do to come and celebrate," said Betty.
They were very confused when I informed them the event had been canceled.
They’re not the only ones with questions. Cars of people pulled in and asked me where the festival was. People from Tucson, Phoenix, and Mesa came to see the lanterns that were never going to be there at that date.
Cheryl Ingber and her family showed up, something she’d been trying to do since the events first date in June.
“I thought maybe 50/50 but apparently that was over estimating," said Ingber.
Like Ray and Betty, Ingber said she never received an email from the event organizer of the rescheduling. She did tell me she received an email for the previous rescheduling that moved the event from June to August.
The event organizer said past rescheduling’s have been due to weather and issues with the City and Fire Department to finish permits.
As a Tucson resident, Ingber didn’t have to drive far for the disappointment. But for Ray and Betty, it’s costed them money for the 200 mile trip.
“Shame on you. Shame on the persons or person who had this event," said Ray.
And for both, it’s a letdown that’s left them anything but optimistic.
“I don’t even have any faith that it’s going to happen," said Ingber.
KOLD has been in email correspondence with the event manager who tells us they still hope to reschedule in a new location that can accommodate this kind of event. When we asked about refunds or how many people were impacted, he said he would no longer answer our questions.