HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A Hampton festival was cancelled one week before the event, and the event organizer says the city is to blame.
Next weekend, Buckroe Beach in Hampton could have been alive with the sounds and tastes of the Caribbean. The Caribbean Food and Music Festival was scheduled for Labor Day weekend, but police say the organizer, Carlita Wiggan, failed to turn in the proper permits. She says the city is just looking for excuses.
“We put on family events,” Wiggan said. “It is important to us that people are well-behaved, and we emphasis that.“
Wiggan told WAVY.com she turned in an application to hold the second annual Caribbean Festival in February.
“I’ve been through the process before, so I expected everything to work out fine,” Wiggan said. “I know the procedures.”
But last week, Wiggan got a call from Hampton police, telling her she needed to complete a parking and safety plan. Police said Buckroe only has 730 parking spots, and 3,000 to 4,000 people were expected.
Wiggan said she met with officers, who looked at her plan and asked for a few changes. They asked her for things like more parking lot attendants and some light towers. She agreed.
“They called us about an hour later to tell us that the chief of police decided that they are not going to approve our permit, because they did not have enough officers to work our event,“ Wiggan said.
The chief said they needed at least 17 officers, and there was not enough time to staff the event properly.
“We’re like okay, 17 is fine, and they even asked us to pay overtime,” Wiggan said. “I had to sign a sheet that said we would pay over time. I did all of that.“
Hampton police say the organizer missed several deadlines to get permits, such as an alcohol permit. Wiggan said she submitted that August 5, but police told WAVY.com that permit would require additional security personnel.
Police said they also received the request for additional officers on August 11. Police sent us a statement saying the request for extra officers has to be filed 30 days before the event, but according to the city’s application, it said requests have to be filed only seven days before.
For Wiggan, there’s frustration. She says she will lose $10,000 and she feels powerless.
“It really is disappointing. It is devastating,” she said. “They are changing the rules as they go along. They are changing the rules just to make sure they look good.“
The city of Hampton released a detailed statement on Friday, explaining why they cancelled the festival. To read that, click here.