Other Cities Learn From Disastrous Des Moines Taco Fest

Photo by Starting Line Staff

The past is starting to catch up with an Arizona company whose traveling taco festivals have left a sour taste in the mouths of its attendees.

Organizers in Wisconsin canceled the upcoming Madison Taco Festival citing complaints from other cities and media reports— including from Iowa Starting Line—about AZ Food Festivals LLC, the fly-by-night operation putting on the events.

This is the same company that put on the disastrous Des Moines Taco & Margarita Festival in July, which one person described as “Fyre Festival but on a bridge.”

“This decision was made based on previous performance and the lack of information provided by AZ Festivals to ensure a successful event,” Wisconsin organizers told the Madison Capital Times.

The San Antonio Express-News newspaper issued a warning to its readers about the Corpus Christi Taco Festival slated for Oct. 18. The paper scheduled an interview with an AZ Food Festivals employee who flaked on the interview and then became unreachable.

AZ Food Festivals is owned and operated by Arizona resident Adam Dobres. According to Arizona state records, it has only been registered as a business since March 2021, although its website claims it has been around since 2018.

The North Dakota Attorney General’s Office is investigating a formal complaint against AZ Food Festivals, according to Fargo TV station. Iowa Starting Line reached out to the Iowa and Arizona attorney general offices to see if similar complaints were filed in those jurisdictions. The Arizona request was not returned by the time of publication and Iowa officials said no complaints have been filed with their office.

The taco festival isn’t the only problematic event-hosting company Dobres is associated with. Arizona records list him as the applicant for Bar Crawl Unlimited, which has its own share of social media complaints and is listed under the Better Business Bureau’s BBB Scam Tracker.

One BBB consumer reported losing $170 to Bar Crawl Unlimited in June for an event near Nashville, Tennessee.

“This scammer purports to operate bar crawl events around the country. A quick browse of reviews across multiple platforms (that I should have done before purchasing) makes it clear that in practice these events are at best extremely misleading or at worst are canceled,” the person wrote.

“No refunds are given, even when their inconsistent and mostly-unreachable customer service email address responds to confirm a refund will be provided. This is a Fyre Festival business model, selling tickets to events that either never happen or are way less than advertised.”

The BBB has received 53 complaints about Bar Crawl Unlimited over the last three years including 14 in the last 12 months.

According to Bar Crawl Unlimited’s Eventbrite page, the company is planning to host margarita crawls on Oct. 23 in Ames, Des Moines, and Dubuque. No participating bars are listed in any of the postings, tickets start at $19.99, and no refunds are being offered.

 

by Ty Rushing
09/13/21

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