A food festival claiming to be a daylong celebration of pizza is being called “a total scam” after people who paid as much as $75 each to attend arrived to find very little actual pizza.
An event called the New York City Pizza Festival, which advertised no specifics on what pizza it would offer, took place in an empty lot in Bushwick on Saturday, and people arrived at the 3 p.m. start time to find a long line and empty tables, according to Gothamist. Attendees said that organizers were cutting up slices of cold pizza from delivery boxes into “small, tiny little slivers.”
By Saturday evening, the festival organizers posted on the Facebook event saying that they had to cancel the rest of the event, noting that “a make-up tasting will be announced shortly.”
But people have flooded the Facebook event page demanding a refund, while others created a new group to unite angry ticket buyers, called “Pizza Festival Scam Victims.” Some noted that they’d driven hours to attend the event, including from as far as D.C.
Another event called New York City Burger Festival promising “burgers of all shapes and sizes” was promoted as happening on the same day, at the same time, at the same location. No burgers were at the event. “Clearly this is a scam and the organizers should be held accountable,” the pizza festival scam victims group says.
About 84,000 people were listed as interested in the pizza festival event on Facebook, with another 30,000 listed as wanting to attend. Videos and photos from Saturday show that dozens of people who bought tickets waited in line only to find a largely empty parking lot. Eater has reached out to the organizer.
People are now demanding that they get refunds for ticket costs, saying the whole thing was a hoax. “There is a flood of fake food festivals showing up on FB,” one commenter wrote on the page. “We should have all learned a major lesson from this!!”