VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A sweet event at the Oceanfront has left a sour taste in the mouths of many, after claims that the festival ran out of its main ingredient.
“It was hilarious,” said Dawn Choate, who attended the festival Saturday. “It was like ‘how do you go to a chocolate festival and run out of chocolate?'”
The Virginia Beach Chocolate Festival took place at the Virginia Beach Convention Center Nov. 14-15. Organizers defend there was plenty of chocolate despite the long lines on Saturday.
“I don’t know what they’re expecting, maybe fountains of chocolate or something like that. We do have those, but it’s not going to cascade over you as you walk in,” said Casey Kohler, organizer of the festival.
Choate says she showed up at 2:30 p.m. to find long lines, sparse samples and not much chocolate for sale.
“We tried this cookie which was very good, they were like ‘you can try it, but you can’t buy any because we ran out at like 11:30,'” said Choate. “If you’re going to have a chocolate festival, have chocolate. I mean, come on.”
Kohler says event staff received “a lot” of complaints on their Facebook page and at the ticket counter, due to similar concerns as Choate, but he says “customer’s expectations were a little too high.”
“Every year we do learn from these events,” said Kohler. “This is the second time we’ve done it here. So maybe next year we’ll have more vendors and a bigger spot.”
According to Kohler, more than 3,500 attended the event over the two days. He says some refunds have been issued, but he would not tell WAVY.com the specific criteria for a refund. He says customers can reach out to the event online or at the ticket office to file a complaint.
Choate says she was denied a refund, but she was offered a free ticket to come back the next day. She declined.
“After the experience we had, why would we want to go back,” said Choate. “Who knows if they would have chocolate the next day.”
Choate tells WAVY.com she and other dissatisfied customers deserve their money back because of the lack of product at the event.