Taste of Minnesota now in bankruptcy

Categories: Investigations

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Taste of Minnesota, we bid you adieu

The deadline for the owners of Taste of Minnesota to fight involuntary bankruptcy has passed. The historic festival is now officially dead. Not only are last year's owners bankrupt, but the city of St. Paul announced yesterday that no new Taste event would take place in 2011, because the four proposals they received from would-be organizers fell short of requirements.

This year's Taste festival on Harriet Island was bigger than ever--but too-high ticket prices combined with bad weather depressed attendance.

As if the big flop wasn't sad enough, the festival owners--Andy Faris, Terry Moore, and Dan Hare of International Event Management, LLC--made it worse. They didn't pay the people they hired to put the whole thing on. The event's vendors and other groups were out, collectively, about $1 million.

Event organizers Andrea and Kevin Campbell place the blame squarely on Andy Faris, the most involved of the three owners, and the man they say is responsible for pushing the festival's entertainment budget way over the top.

In early December, the people with missing paychecks filed papers to force Taste into bankruptcy. Yesterday afternoon, Judge Robert J. Kressel signed the order.

Taste's owners have seven days to put together a big list of all the people they owe money to. Otherwise, the people forcing the company into bankruptcy will do that task.

Meanwhile, St. Paul administrators say the Taste event will be replaced with a city-sponsored fireworks display on Fourth of July weekend, according to the Pioneer Press. None of the proposals the Parks Department reviewed met all of the city's requirements for music, food, fireworks, crowd size and cost, the paper reported, so the Harriet Island Taste event will be nixed for the first time since 2003.



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