BY ERIC HAGEN
The Bubble Run that needed to be rescheduled now has a firm date in place of July 30.
Cool Events, LLC needed the Blaine City Council to approve a special event license for this event in which participants will run or walk a 5K race on the National Sports Center campus, Blaine.
The council June 15 approved the event on a 5-0 vote. Council Members Jason King and Dick Swanson were absent.
“I hope you have good weather and it turns out,” Mayor Tom Ryan said.
The event will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., July 30.
Blaine Police Chief Chris Olson said the department would provide traffic for this event and be reimbursed for 100 percent of its expenses as it would for any other large-scale event.
Council Member Andy Garvais wanted to address stories of racers not being granted refunds after Cool Events changed the event date from June 11 to July 30. This issue drew greater attention after the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota sent a press release to raise awareness not only for this event but how people should be cautious when signing up for the multitude of “fun runs.”
Garvais took issue with the fact that Cool Events, LLC has promoted and sold tickets before it even received a license from the city of Blaine. He said he would approve the city permit for the July 30 event on one condition, which was that “individuals that purchased tickets on the first race are allowed a refund.”
Before the council got any further in the discussion, an event director for Cool Events who was at the council meeting got the chance to address the issue.
Lauren Bennett said people requesting it will be refunded.
“There was a customer service error in which people in our company were told the wrong information on why the event was moved and were wrongfully not given refunds, which has been corrected,” she said. “Our customer service staff is going back and refunding all those individuals who did request a refund for a date change, so we do apologize for the delay in that but it is being taken care of.”
After hearing this news, Garvais’ motion was withdrawn and the council voted to approve the special event license.
Council Member Dave Clark, who had seconded Garvais’ original motion, asked that the minutes be clear on why he and Garvais were withdrawing their motions.
“We’re withdrawing the motion because you’ve made that promise,” Clark said.
People who had signed up for the June 11 date said they were informed the event was moved from June 11 to July 30 because around 17,000 people had signed up, which was more than expected.
Cool Events, LLC is now telling the city that around 10,000 people are expected to be at the July 30 event.
Bryan Schafer, planning and community development director, said the applicant first contacted the city on May 9. After consulting with the council, he said Cool Events was informed that there was not enough time to process the application and have the council vote before the June 11 event. On May 16, the city was informed of the event date change to July 30.
Calls left to Cool Events media relations’ line were not returned before this edition went to press. Bennett did not specify whether people who previously made requests and were denied would need to make new requests or whether the refund would be automatic.
Another unanswered question is why did William Spata, co-owners of Cool Events, LLC tell Fox 9 News on May 25 that he will not be giving refunds, but maybe credit, and now people are being refunded.
On the “Bubble Run–we want a refund!” Facebook page, people said they have been getting refunds after they made requests are were told it would typically take seven to 10 business days. But for some it took multiple emails before they were finally informed a refund would be coming.
Dan Hendrickson, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau said they are pleased to hear that the race was approved to happen on July 30.
“And in regard to the company’s promise to provide refunds, we appreciate that as well and will hope that’s the case and if it should prove not to be the case, we would encourage consumers to file complaints with BBB, but of course to first give them that chance to honor requests for refunds.”