Blue Plum Festival kicks off Friday; Thousands of dollars still owed to last year’s vendors

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – In less than 24 hours, the annual Blue Plum Festival will kick off in downtown Johnson City.

Organizers say the show will go on, despite efforts to pay back thousands of dollars owed to vendors from last year’s festival.

Hank Brown owns We Run Events and has helped with the Blue Plum Fast 5K for the past several years. But last year, it wasn’t business as usual.

“Our fee for the event last year was over $1,000 and of course that was not paid right away when we sent the invoice,” Brown said.

Brown said in April he was paid back in full.

“They would pay a couple hundred dollars here or $100 there,” he said.

President of the Blue Plum organization, Tracy Johnson, said they’re still working to pay back thousands of dollars to other contracted vendors.

“The number is around $40,000. Forty thousand to $45,000, and we’ve been pushing to pay those payments back since January,” Johnson said.

It comes after the former director of the festival pleaded guilty to charges of theft and forgery in January. Investigators said she forged checks from the non-profit organization that puts on the Blue Plum Festival.

It left a debt that Johnson said she hopes to re-pay with any revenue generated from their events this year, including Blue Plum and three other fundraisers.

“We just had faith in them, and it’s paid off for us, and I hope it does for everyone else too,” Brown said.

For a full list of what to expect at the festival, head to blueplum.org.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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