Beer Festival turns out to be fake; ticket holders scammed

 A big beer festival that was to include lobster, 250 different brews and jet ski races turned out to be a big bust.

Bay Area promoters sold tickets to an event called “Modesto Beer and Bites.”

But the event scheduled for Saturday turned out to be a sham.

Officials with the city of Modesto and local law enforcement said the event’s Bay Area promoters never filed for permits or the appropriate paperwork.

“We can’t find anyone out there,” Modesto Parks and Recreation Director Andy Johnson said. “We’ve been working with the visitors bureau and the chamber of commerce. Nobody knows.”

A similar event in the Bay Area by the same promoter also turned out to be a sham.

“A bit disappointing,” Modesto resident Braulio Rodriguez said. “If things are too good to be true, you know it probably is.”

Rodriguez rode by to check out the event that his brother told him about.

“Yeah, I saw the address and I thought, ‘This little spot? It wouldn’t be able to fit all of that.'”

The event was supposed to be held on a tiny grassy spot at the corner of 14th and L streets for as many as 2,000 people.

Local event promoter Chris Ricci, known for putting together Modesto’s Xfest for the past 16 years, found out about the “Modesto Beer and Bites Festival” three weeks ago. He said he wasn’t sure then if the event was legitimate.

The city and police had gotten a number of complaints. But it wasn’t until Saturday — the day of the scheduled event — that they knew for sure the it was a sham.

“That’s pretty sad if anybody bought tickets to that,” Rodriguez said.

“The real concern, the same group of scammers doing this in other cities,” Ricci said. “People are just finding new ways to get your money.”

Ricci said that’s why you’ve always got to be careful. When you are looking to buy tickets to an event, make sure you deal with a promoter you’ve dealt with before.

Saturday afternoon, miles away at The Taproom on Sylvan Road in Modesto, another beer festival got underway with lots of tunes and plenty of pints.

“That’s a real event. You can go and have a great time today,” Ricci said.

As for the “Modesto Beer and Bites Festival,” a lesson learned for vendors and ticket holders is to double check the validity of the event and the promoter.

A quick tip: if you ever attend a paid event, you can call the city to make sure the business or promoter is licensed. You can also quickly and easily check online by going to the Secretary of State’s website.

Modesto police have assigned a detective to look into the “Beer and Bites” event. Anyone who bought tickets, should file a report with police.

Some people who bought tickets have been reimbursed on their credit cards.

There is always a shithead out there to scam your money

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