Refunds in Limbo for Lantern Fest Ticket Holders

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – One week after the City of South Padre Island denied an operating permit for the Lantern Festival, ticket holders are wondering if and when they will get their money back.

Cynthia Godinez said she was at last year's festival.

"It was actually awesome. It was a great experience," she said.

In a 5-to-1 vote last week, SPI city officials denied the festival permits after an environmental study showed the lanterns are not biodegradable.

After the permit denial, Godinez said she tried reaching out to festival organizers about a refund.

She said she's been trying to reach them since last month, when rumors first surfaced about the possibility of the event being canceled.

"We got like an automatic message and it was you know we're working on it," she said.

That automated message response continued as CHANNEL 5 NEWS tried to get in touch with the company through Facebook.

With no luck, we did some digging into the event.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS found out the organizers behind the Lantern Fest is a company called Sack Lunch Productions out of Salt Lake City, Utah.

We messaged the organization through their contact page. We also called the number listed on the website.

"Since we didn't get any answers from the Lantern Fest themselves, we took matters into our own hands," she said.

Godinez said she and a group of her friends who dished out money for the tickets filed claims with their banks for better luck.

The festival's website does show a "no refund policy."

Because the event was launched prior to obtaining permits, we wanted to know if that policy is void.

However, SPI city officials said the responsibility of refunds lies with festival organizers.

In addition, the Better Business Bureau shows an "F" rating for Sack Lunch Productions.

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