Some Local Businesses Feeling Snubbed By Folk Festival 

The Bangor Waterfront will be buzzing this weekend as the American Folk festival begins tomorrow. But some local business owners say the 3-day event leaves them with a bad taste in their mouths. “My frustration is I’m a local business, they go to local businesses to ask for donations to promote this,” says Ted Caruso, who owns Maine Equipment and Party Rental on Hammond Street in Bangor. “I understand some local vendors get to go sell food and that type of stuff. You know the big money is in the stage and the tents and the tables and the chairs.”In the fall of 2006 Caruso asked Folk Festival organizers if he could put a bid in on the tents used during the 3-day event. “And eventually I got a request in the mail for a bid for the tables and chairs. So I called her up and asked her about the tents and she said we are not putting the tents out for bid.”Caruso says, to his knowledge, the tents are contracted to a company in Canada. Folk Festival Executive Director Heather McCarthy wouldn’t comment on who has the contract for the tents. She did issue this brief statement. “The Folk Festival works hard to work with every local vendor. We’re looking forward to a great festival weekend.”Caruso says he’s not bitter about not getting the job, he’s angry that he wasn’t even given the opportunity. “And that’s all I’m asking for. That’s all I ever ask from anybody when I make a phone call is can I get an opportunity and because of the nature of financing every business in their area should at least have an opportunity.” Bangor City Councilor Cary Weston says he’s received several phone calls from local business owners with the same complaint. Caruso says he doesn’t want the Folk Festival to go away. He just wants local businesses to have a chance to get involved and show them what Maine businesses can do. “Because I am now a Bangor taxpayer and they are owe the city of Bangor $300,000 and they’re not even requesting people from the city, much less Maine, to bid on these tents.”