And sometimes, things you love change. And not always in a good way.
For many years, Binghamton, New York (where I work) has had an annual festival called the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally. I don't go every year, but when you are able to see a balloon launch, it's a fantastic experience (I'll blog more about that tomorrow.)
I didn't go last year because of previous commitments, at a time when various changes were being made to the festival. It was now being run by a different organization (it used to be run by a charity). I didn't know if I would go this year. But, Friday, due to the generosity of a local credit union, there was free admission to all venues but a nighttime concert (Rick Springfield, of "Jessie's Girl" fame).
We used to live in that neighborhood, so knew where to park. Our walk (about 10 minutes) ended with a walk across a bridge over the Chenango River. It looked so peaceful.
After passing through a security checkpoint, we were immediately greeted by people who looked to be in their 20's, handing us tickets and directing us to tablets that were set up in several groups.
My spouse obediently headed for a tablet. I, on the other hand, looked at the ticket. It had a Reward Code, and, on the back, the name of the company giving them out. It was a travel company "licensed and bonded" in Florida.
Alarm bells went off. I pulled my spouse away. At first, he resisted me but I succeeded in pulling him away.
"Weren't they part of security?" he asked, wondering if we had done something wrong by bypassing the tablets and the helpful people ready to help us redeem these tickets. (I have to disclose here that my spouse, as much as I love him, doesn't engage much in the Internet or social media. In fact, he does not know how to send an email, or text.)
I also need to mention that some 20% of the population of our county, Broome County, in upstate New York, is over 65.
|Security Poster at Spiedie Fest, 2016|
I was not that happy, and the more I thought about it, the more upset I got.
I am not giving the name of the company, but when we got home I googled them, both on the Better Business Bureau website and on Yelp. It would appear this company sells discount vacations where you are expected to listen to timeshare presentations.
Whoever they were, they weren't Broome County security.
How many people signed up on those tablets for...what?
This used to be a family friendly event.
It used to be a fun day.
Now, is it just a place to avoid scams?