Ticket holders say something fishy happened at this weekend's Hudson River Seafood Festival.

An event touted as "total seafood nirvana" is being criticized for high prices and a lack of actual food. The festival took place on Saturday and Sunday at Riverfront Park in Beacon. Ticket holders expecting "buckets of shrimp" say they were met with insanely long lines and not nearly enough food to go around.

Attendees who say they shelled out $115 for VIP tickets claim they were forced to wait in long lines with everyone else for over an hour just to find out that the food was completely sold out. Dozens of harsh reviews that were posted to the event's Facebook page over the weekend mysteriously disappeared, but that hasn't stopped angry attendees from continuing to voice their displeasure.

Attendee Joe Valentin says the organizers "should be absolutely embarrassed and ashamed of the handling of this event." Ed Thomas wrote that the festival has "some seriously balls saying this is a 'craft beer special' worth 50 bucks for a tin cup and a long line." The comment was followed by a photo of a hand-drawn menu showing five beers and one cider. Many who purchased the ticket add-on say they never even received the promised commemorative cup.

Ginny McConnell called the event "awful." She says she purchased tickets knowing that she would also have to also buy food, but was disappointed when she arrived at 3pm and was told that the seafood was completely sold out.

The event's Facebook page promised "15 food trucks with the best seafood, barbecue, vegan and gluten-free options," but customers say that's not what was offered. A Facebook group was started over the weekend titled "Scammers Exposed: Food Festivals & Events" to shine a spotlight on what members say was a complete "rip-off."

The page is loaded with complaints about the organizers, BAP Events, and their handling of the event this weekend. Screenshots of private messages to the company show responses that indicated that the problems are being blamed on a catering company that "dropped the ball" and arrived 90 minutes late. Customers say that even if the vendor was late, it still doesn’t explain the short staffing or food running out so quickly.

Angelo Notaro, the CEO of BAP Marketing Strategies did not immediately respond to our request for a statement about the event.

Jackie Corley, Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley
Jackie Corley, Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley

Organizers of other events in the Hudson Valley are hoping that bad experiences like the one that happened at the Hudson River Seafood Festival don't turn people off to the many properly-run food festivals and events that take place throughout the region every year.

Next month, the Hudson River Craft Beer Festival will be happening at Riverfront park in Beacon. This annual festival has been named one of the best beer festivals in the Hudson Valley, with over 200 beers available from 100 breweries. We're told that the event (organized by Townsquare Media, owners of this website) will be fully staffed to assure for the safety and comfort of all attendees. There will also be plenty of beer on hand for ticket holders to enjoy and VIP ticket holders will have exclusive access to the festival for one hour before the gate officially opens. More details about the planning and organization of this event can be found at HRCBF.com.

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