An Adelaide Christmas event has been shut down and refunds will be given to ticket holders for not meeting customer expectations.
The ‘Santa’s Winter Village’ event at The Ice Skating Edge in Noarlunga Centre was slammed by parents for its “shocking and disappointing” experience, and likened to the failed Fyre Festival by social media users.
Customers who purchased tickets for the event can arrange a refund via the ice skating facility, which is leased from Vicinity Centres.
The retail property group’s Regional Manager Zoltan Heinrich said it spoke with the team at The Ice Skating Edge to discuss the concerns with the experience.
“We have arranged with the team at The Ice Skating Edge to close Santa’s Winter Village today, stop selling tickets to the event and arrange refunds for those who have been disappointed by the event,” he said.
“We’ve listened to our customers and, we agree, Santa’s Winter Village does not meet the expectations of our customers, the broader community or our team at Colonnades and we apologise for the disappointment and inconvenience this has caused our customers.”
As well as meeting Father Christmas and having photos with him, the ‘Santa’s Winter Village’ event promised “lots of fun Christmas activities to do”.
They included a Christmas Ice Show, stories with Mother Christmas, an art and craft station for children, ice skating, a giant Candy Lane game and nine-hole putt putt golf, a Polar Express train ride and food and drinks available. according to the Eventbrite page.
KJ Long said she paid $120 for her family of four to attend on Monday and enjoy their first family day out in three months.
But after stepping inside the “village”, she took to social media to express her “disappointment”, warning others not to “waste time or money” on the event.
“A big spend we know, but it was about creating a special memory to end 2020 on,” Ms Long wrote.
“I instantly felt a feeling of shock and disappointment as soon as we walked in and our experience just kept getting worse.
She said the Santa was so poorly dressed that her six-year-old daughter began to question if the man was Father Christmas.
“Not cool to take the sparkle and magic from her so young,” she wrote.
“If you’re going to create an event which is advertised … lists incredible features and costs as much as it does, then you need to make sure it meets the standard.
“If you’re going to create a small community run event with homemade signage and activities, then it needs to be advertised and priced accordingly.”
Social media users have likened the event to the Fyre Festival.
“A furious mum posted today about how a ticketed ‘Santa’s Winter Village’ event in Noarlunga, South Australia is a scam, warning other parents away. She’s right. Check her photos. It looks like the Fyre Festival of kids’ Santa events,” one man wrote.
Other people also commented on the post saying they were no longer wanting to buy tickets or were asking for refunds.
“I’ve requested (a) refund and replanned,” one Facebook user said.
“They should be ashamed of themselves. How disgusting to rip off families, especially at this time of the year,” another wrote.
“It’s a shame! I mean I think the thought is there but they should only be charging $5-$10 max I reckon and let the adults go in for free or something!?” a third user commented.
The event was scheduled to run until December 23rd with three sessions daily.
Anyone requiring a refund can contact email@example.com.