Mac and cheese is delicious: a gooey pile of melted mess that hits your taste buds like a load of awesomeness. People go crazy for it. Sometimes literally, as one Canadian neighborhood just found out.
Toronto’s Liberty Village neighborhood played host to Canada’s first-ever three-day Mac 'n Cheese Festival over the weekend. In a mistake of nearly Woodstockian proportions, organizers greatly underestimated turnout, and the results were a mess. According to the Toronto Star, only about 5,000 people were expected for Friday, but more than 17,000 came out. By Sunday, event organizer Philip Suos estimated that more than 46,000 people had attended the event over the course of the weekend.
Wait times were more than an hour, with lines visible down the street. Because of the overload, many vendors ran out of food far earlier than expected, leaving attendees nowhere to use the tickets they had paid for. The neighborhood was left a mess with overflowing garbage cans and plenty of extra trash everywhere. “I went to get my morning coffee, typical weekend routine, and it was just like a bomb went off,” resident Kellie Davenport told CP24. “There was food on tables, there were piles of vomit, there were wrappers, litter, everything, and having to walk over that kind of trash is not really ideal. I understand the event was success, and I love events like that coming to Liberty Village; I just wish there had been proper plans and contingency plans in place for adequate cleanup.” Part of the problem, according to organizers, was that the event was so crazy on that first day that staff was scared off for the rest of the weekend.
At least Suos was apologetic. “It was unfortunate,” he said. “It’s year one, we know we made mistakes, but we are going to have a major crew cleaning up [Sunday night], and everything will be cleared by Monday morning.”
He’s also optimistic for the future: “Next year is going to be bigger and better,” he told the Star. I’d believe at least half of that has to be true.
One other bright spot: The event raised money for FoodShare, a nonprofit working to improve access to affordable and healthy food. Sounds like their budget might have just gotten a huge boost.