What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Ticket holders out of luck after Lantern Fest changes date, location

Posted September 26
Updated September 28

— A lantern festival originally planned for Fayetteville in less than two weeks has been rescheduled, and the company behind it isn't offering refunds to ticket holders.

The Lantern Fest was scheduled to be held Oct. 7 in Fayetteville. However, ticket holders were notified Tuesday via the event website and Facebook that the festival had been moved to November and will be held more than an hour away in Goldsboro.

"The Lantern Fest team has been looking forward to bringing magic to Fayetteville all year long. Unfortunately, due to a new local law in the city of Fayetteville, we are unable to bring the event to you this year. We have automatically transferred your tickets to the Lantern Fest: Goldsboro event on Nov. 11. Thank you for understanding, and we look forward to seeing you there," organizers wrote on Facebook.

The Lantern Fest features music, dancing, s'mores and biodegradable lanterns that are released into the night sky. The event is held across the country and is presented by Sack Lunch Productions, the same company behind Slide the City.

Allison Paugh purchased tickets to the Fayetteville event as a second wedding anniversary gift to her husband, who recently returned home from deployment.

"He missed so many important events in our lives while being gone. I wanted to celebrate him and our lives together in a magical way. I was very excited to share this event with him as a surprise, but now my heart is broken," Paugh said. "I was really upset."

Paugh, like many others, has requested a refund, but Sack Lunch Productions isn't budging on its "no refund" policy.

The Lantern Fest responses on Facebook

"When it comes to refunds, unfortunately, like major sporting events and concerts, refunds are only issued when an event is canceled, not transferred," the company has responded on Facebook. Ticket holders unable to attend the Goldboro event are being encouraged to sell their tickets.

Calls and emails to Sack Lunch Productions have not been returned.

The Fayetteville fire marshal said the North Carolina Fire Prevention Code added a ban on sky lanterns on January 1. The code reads, "a person shall not release or cause to be released an untethered sky lantern." That means sky lanterns would not be permitted anywhere in the state, not just Fayetteville.

The Mayor of Fayetteville Nat Robertson said he wants the state Attorney General's office to look into the company.

Lantern Fest was held in 2015 and 2016 at Fayetteville Motor Speedway. The event was also held in Gaston in May 2015 at Carolina Speedway, but caused a reported $500,000 in damage when several lanterns got wedged in a nearby cell tower causing wiring and insulation to ignite, according to the Gaston Gazette. No one was injured, and organizers told the newspaper the event was an overall success.


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  • Lora Rosser Sep 27, 4:03 p.m.
    user avatar

    Tim Orr... Maybe you should read the article. Fayetteville has no such law. The STATE passed a law in January. Which brings up two questions:
    1) Isn't Goldsboro in the state?
    2) Since tickets went on sale AFTER January, shouldn't all tickets be refunded?

  • Cindy Rose Sep 26, 10:36 p.m.
    user avatar

    I’’ll remember not to do business with this company. That was just wrong.

  • Tim Orr Sep 26, 8:54 p.m.
    user avatar

    "Unfortunately, due to a new local law in the city of Fayetteville, we are unable to bring the event to you this year."

    Maybe y'all should be addressing the issue with your local FAYETTEVILLE government.

  • Trish Klickman Sep 26, 6:18 p.m.
    user avatar

    Our names are Claire and Ella both are moms worked very hard for the money to purchase these tickets.This sucks Ella's mom is single and works hard to earn money for her daughter .my birthday is that day and i was going to go there with all my friends .And we both think that we should get a refund, Claire's Mom bought fifteen tickets and extra lanterns, and my mom spent 57 dollars on a ticket. That money could have gone to books that would have educated me, or a school tuition payment.This is money that was wasted the time they spent at work could of been spent with us.And what they did was wrong.

  • Trish Klickman Sep 26, 5:54 p.m.
    user avatar

    i am Trish's daughter claire my birthday is october 7th and i had a plan to go to the lantern fest with all 8 of my friends for my golden birthday and it got canceled, and i haven't had a birthday party in 2 years, and last year it got canceled because of hurricane Mathew. i wish we could get a refund, i only turn 12 once.

    Hi. My name is Ella. I'm Claire's friend. My Mom just bought a 57 dollar ticket two nights ago, and she specifically told me "Alright Ella, I'm gonna buy this ticket because I really want to go to this with you, even though it will cost me an arm and a leg!" It's one of the few days that my mom actually gets the day off(shes a hardworking nurse and a single mom) , and I was looking forward to lighting my lantern with her and watching it fly with Claire. I truly cant believe this is happening. Claire and I were debating what to do instead, so i said "How about we throw darts at pictures of kids we hate." so, do you really want me to throw darts at children?
    Please he

  • Andrew Stephenson Sep 26, 3:41 p.m.
    user avatar

    Man, if I ever start an event and want to scam people, I'll just make my refund policy the same way. After everyone is paid up, just switch the venue to some place unreasonable to get to, like a place without roads on the other side of the country. Hold a barebones event for legality sake, then pocket everything. PROFIT!

  • Melanie Lane Sep 26, 2:02 p.m.
    user avatar

    though I can imagine the calls going to the state attorney general I wonder how many people will remember that the general assembly gutted the budget and subsequently the staff that should be able to fight for the people of NC. The general assembly felt it more important to punish the voters for electing a democrat than to protect the people of NC