DENVER — The website for a sky lantern festival promises a "magical moment like no other," but a Colorado mother believes she was scammed after the event was postponed multiple times.
"It’s the perfect scenario for scamming people," Robyn Hurd said. "I want to discourage anybody else who thinks this is a really great idea."
Hurd previously attended a similar event in 2016. Her whole family loved it.
"It was one of the most magical experiences that we’ve ever had. There had to be thousands and thousands of people there," Hurd said.
When she saw another lantern festival coming to Colorado Springs, she immediately wanted to go. She purchased a four-person ticket package for $150 at lightsoveramerica.events and added on a s'mores kit for the kids.
Hurd said the event was scheduled to take place in September 2020. Right before the festival was set to take place, she received a message from the organizers.
"I got an email saying that because of the Colorado Springs or state of Colorado restrictions on the size of an outdoor gathering that they were going to have to move it. OK, that’s fine. That’s understandable," Hurd said.
Hurd became suspicious when the lantern festival continued to be postponed. She said it was moved to May 2021, and then it was moved yet again. She said it was rescheduled for Sept. 4, 2021 but it never happened.
"I found a single post on their Instagram, it’s not deleted, that said sorry the weather wizards are in Colorado again, and we’re going to have to reschedule this event," Hurd said.
The website for Lights Over America still lists the Colorado Springs event, but the date now says "to be announced." Contact Denver7 attempted to reach out to festival organizers, but no one has responded to requests for comment. Hurd said no one has responded to her either.
"I haven’t received any word back at all. There’s no doubt in my mind it’s a scam," Hurd said.
Contact Denver7 also talked with officials in Colorado Springs to see if they were aware of the event or issued any permits. A spokesperson said, "We never permitted any event like that on any city or publicly owned property."
According to the website for Lights Over America, a lantern festival is scheduled for mid-September in Omaha, Nebraska. Officials with the City of Omaha and the county where Omaha is located say they were not aware of the festival. Omaha also has an ordinance that bans flying lanterns.
"The red flag that I missed that people need to be on the lookout for is there’s no reason to keep the location secret. If they’re keeping the location secret and you can’t check with the fire marshal to see if there were really permits pulled on this event, then the event does not exist," Hurd said. "Don’t give them your money."
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