Updated 9-3-19 12:13 p.m.
CULLMAN, Ala. – Late last week, 12 All-in-One Passes to the 2019 Cullman County Fair turned up for sale on the “Cullman County Buy, Sell and Trade” Facebook page. At an asking price of $7 below the regular price, it had the makings of a great deal, but there was one big problem: Fair tickets do not go on sale until Sept. 10 and, at present, the Cullman Lions Club only plans to distribute them through the Fair office at the fairgrounds and through Peoples Bank.
The tickets were posted by a Facebook member whose name The Tribune has withheld, a resident of Vinemont.
At first, rumors circulated that the tickets were counterfeit, but they turned out to be real. Cullman Lion Charlie Childers explained: “We had a book of tickets get picked up illegally, of 25 tickets, and then they showed up on Facebook for sale. They made a nice enough picture to give me the ticket number, so when we tracked down, it was actually a book that had been lifted off of a desk. They’re actually real tickets.”
He continued, “We actually notified the sheriff’s office. They tried to contact them, the person that had them listed. I don’t know that they ever made contact with them. But it has been posted several times, and I actually sent a note directly to that person. I didn’t accuse them of stealing them; the sheriff’s office suggested I not accuse them, but to go ahead and tell them that those particular ticket numbers would not be honored at the Fair.”
The All-in-One Passes in question are numbered 926 through 950. Twelve of the tickets were advertised for sale. The ticket book is believed to have been removed from a shop in Cullman where they were printed. As of Monday afternoon, the seller had not been accused of stealing the book, and he himself said in a social media conversation with one of his customers and with a prospective customer that he had found the passes, though a statement from one witness contradicts that claim.
Lindy Nicole Bennefield contacted The Tribune Monday afternoon. She purchased six of the passes from the seller, then began seeing social media posts indicating a problem. Bennefield shared an image from the conversation thread she and the seller had online when she asked if her passes were valid or stolen.
The seller replied (unedited): “No the tickets were never stolen I (f****n) found them while walking down the railroad tracks I figured it would be away to make money to get my jeep outta impound I put it on my kids”
The seller agreed to refund Bennefield’s money “if they don’t work.”
In a comment on The Tribune’s online story Monday night, a separate would-be customer posted a photo of a conversation thread from shortly after midnight on the morning of Aug. 29, in which the seller wrote (unedited), “I found them walkin down the railroad tracks like 20 mins ago.”
The Tribune also spoke with Melissa Mosteller, who purchased four passes, numbers 926 through 929. According to her statement, the seller made the same claim about needing money to get his vehicle out of impound, but he contradicted his claim about finding the passes.
Said Mosteller, “I responded to his ad. You know, he said he was selling them for $15 apiece. When I questioned that, he told me he had a buddy that worked for the fair, and the buddy had given them to him. But then his Jeep had been impounded, and he needed cash to get his vehicle out more so than he needed fair passes, so this was just a way for him to make a little extra money.”
According to Mosteller, the seller told her he had only received 12 passes from his friend. She said he offered to refund her money if the passes were no good.
Since sales have not begun, if you have an All-in-One Pass, it is not valid. Should you receive one at any time with a number from 926 to 950, it will also not be valid. Those planning to go to the Fair are encouraged to purchase their tickets or passes at the Fair Office or Peoples Bank, starting Sept. 10.