Vendors say Palmetto Festival was a scam, event coordinator owes thousands

Vendors say Palmetto Festival was a scam, event coordinator owes thousands
A new event for the Grand Strand was supposed to get underway Sunday at The Market Common, but that never happened. Vendors now say the organizer owes them thousands of dollars. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A new event for the Grand Strand was supposed to get underway Sunday at The Market Common, but it never happened. Vendors now say the organizer owes them thousands of dollars.

Six vendors say they paid for a spot at the Palmetto Festival, an event being put on by Black Bear and Co. and its owner, Jenna Curtis. But as the festival approached, business owners began to worry if it was even going to happen.

"Normally as a vendor, you’re going to get your information, you’re going to get a map of the setup but there was no communication what so ever,” said Trisha McQuade, a local photographer.

McQuade said she paid $67 for her spot, but thinks other vendors paid more.

“I have a claim in with my bank to get that money refunded. But I do know a lot of the food truck vendors, it’s more expensive. You usually pay between $100 to $200,” McQuade said.

McQuade added that she believes upwards of 50 vendors paid to have a spot at the Palmetto Festival, which was supposed to be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 7.

But vendors say they lost more than just the fees they paid Curtis.

“I had to make product for this show this week, so it was not only my time to make this product but now I have extra product that I have to find another show to sell at because I now have an overage of supplies,” said Monique van der Steur, who owns a business in Charleston.

Along with the vendor fees, Curtis charged $10 for early bird tickets, $35 for a family boat race tickets and $25 for a child boat race ticket, telling vendors she had sold more than 2,000 tickets.

And this isn’t the first event Curtis has hosted. On May 18, she organized the North Georgia Peach Festival, which was advertised as a celebration that would bring the best regional musical performers, southern fried foods, shopping, a pageant, a 5k run and an area just for kids.

But Heather Kerley, who drove to the event in Georgia from Chattanooga, Tenn., says this was anything but a celebration and now Curtis owes thousands of dollars to people and to the county who owned the festival grounds.

I was checking social media trying to figure out where are these people because she promised us thousands of people and there were just a handful of people walking around,” Kerley said. “So I was checking social media and people were mad because she was charging $10 at the door to get in and there really wasn’t anything to do that was worth $10 a head to get in. She was basically just taking vendors’ money at the door,” she added.

We have reached out to the number and email listed on Black Bear and Company’s website for comment. The phone number has been disconnected and no reply has been received via email.

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