Arlington, VA

(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) A queso catastrophe has local macaroni and cheese fans feeling blue today.

The Nova Mac and Cheese Festival, scheduled for this coming Saturday in Ballston, has been cancelled, according to messages on the event’s ticketing and Facebook pages.

The full message:

We are writing to inform you that in response to challenges that would have impacted the overall quality of the event, the team for NoVa Mac and Cheese Festival has made the decision to cancel the event planned for October 5th in Ballston, VA. We sincerely hope to return to the area with the event in the future. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and we are grateful for your interest.

We are issuing full refunds to all ticket holders (Full 100% Refunds will be completed this week). In addition, we are offering free admission to our Richmond, Va Mac and Cheese festival the following weekend (October 12th) for anyone who was a ticket holder to our NoVa event. If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Thank you

There’s no word on why exactly the plans melted down, but an Arlington County memo obtained by ARLnow.com suggests that only a half dozen mac and cheese vendors had submitted the required paperwork for the event.

“Although our Special Events team members worked diligently to assist them, as of Friday the organizer only had (6) confirmed food vendors that submitted the required paperwork and were approved by Public Health,” wrote Leslie Pelzer, the manager of the county’s Office of Special Events. “The [organizer] has expressed that they would like to re-apply in the Spring 2020.”

Despite the promises of prompt refunds and free admission to the Richmond festival, in the Facebook comments customers were none-too-pleased about the turn of events.

“Don’t they know better than to mess with our beloved mac n cheese,” wrote one. “These are fighting words.”

“This is basically the Fyre Festival,” said another.

Others pointed to the cancellation of another macaroni and cheese festival in Leesburg earlier this year and suggested a nefarious pattern, although the events were apparently organized by different entities.

Mac and cheese festivals seem to be something of a cottage industry. The organizer of the Ballston event has other upcoming mac fests planned in Richmond, Baltimore, Scranton and Pittsburgh. Yet another festival, organized by a different local events company, is planned for Oct. 26 in D.C.

Courtesy photo

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