Rib Fest leaves vendors upset and with empty pockets

NAMPA, Idaho (KBOI) - 50,000 people- that's the size of crowd the Treasure Valley's first Rib Fest drew last year. Such a large crowd that organizer Kasey Thompson says vendors ran out of barbeque.

"So our commitment to the Treasure Valley this year was to not run out of barbeque," he said.

That's why he brought in more vendors this time. That came as a surprise to some, who say it caused them to struggle to get enough business.

"We were told that there was only going to be be seven rib vendors selling barbeque," said Joe Alexander, a vendor who traveled all the way from Indiana for the event, "If you walk up on top of the hill over there...there's 12 vendors that are selling....and that really hurt."

There were 12 barbeque vendors in addition to the seven that were competing for best barbeque this year. Joe Alexander says that took away a lot of business from his stand.

Vendors also tell KBOI 2News that organizers charged different rates for booths of the same size. They say some people paid up to $1,500, and some paid as little as $100.

When the Truth Squad asked Thompson about that, he said it was a matter of what vendors were selling and which promotions were running when they signed up.

Alexander says after the Rib Fest, he and some of the other vendors are thousands of dollars in the hole. But while they're blaming organizers, Thompson says the weather is really the culprit.

"We tried to do it based on last year's numbers, what we thought the right number of vendors would be, with what would make the public happy. Unfortunately, the heat just changed that," he said.

Thompson says after all the complaints this year, he does plan on limiting the amount of booths more next year.