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Festival Of Flight Organizers Determined To Pay Off Debt

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Fayetteville's Festival of Flight owes 10 vendors nearly $168,000. Board members voted Wednesday, not to give up on paying off that debt.

"We're not going to give up until we find the answer," Festival of Flight organizer Mac Healy said.

Organizers said they did not make enough money on the event to cover expenses for a lot of reasons, including bad weather and troops going to war. For months, they hit up the community for money. With no new leads, they will ask some of the same people for money again.

Of the 10 vendors, the highest bill is $98,000 for McGraw Hill in New York, which printed programs. The lowest is $25 for a Wright brother impersonator in Elizabeth City.

Festival organizers owe the North Carolina Aviation Museum in Asheboro $525 for bringing a plane Orville Wright flew. Mark Vuncannon, general manager of the museum, told WRAL, "it was dumb of us not to get paid up front." Vuncannon said if asked to participate again, he would, "get paid up front and jack up the price to cover anything that could go wrong."

Board members hope the city's reputation has not taken too big of a hit from the controversy.

"There's a concern we always have for our reputation. I would hope the message we put out today and the last 16 months is while we tried and did something good, the revenue didn't meet our expectations, but we're not giving up," Healy said.

The festival is paying off the debt bit-by-bit. On Wednesday, the festival board decided to split evenly $1,000 it has on hand between the 10 vendors.


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