Families Enraged After Restaurant's 'Bluey' Event Goes Wrong, Comparing It to Fyre Festival

A Las Vegas Dirt Dog brings in customers with a Bluey-themed event that goes horribly, yet hilariously, wrong.

Jamie Lerner - Author

May 21 2024, Published 12:31 p.m. ET

Running a business is never easy, especially in the restaurant industry when the margins of a successful restaurant are often just 1–2 percent. So it’s no surprise that a Dirt Dog franchisee in Las Vegas wanted to do a little extra to get a few more customers than on a normal Saturday, which is why they decided to host Bluey Day! at their Rainbow Blvd location.

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However, what should have been a fun Bluey event for kids, parents, and Dirt Dog staff quickly morphed into what some have described as a “horror show” with crying toddlers, angry parents, and an overworked staff. So what really happened on that fateful Bluey day?

'Bluey' family
Source: Disney
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A Las Vegas Dirt Dog franchise decided to host Bluey Day on May 11, 2024.

On May 11, 2024, the Las Vegas Dirt Dog set up a Bluey Day event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as a way to draw in more customers. In the official Facebook event, which is where they mostly advertised and communicated with customers, they wrote: “Celebrate Bluey with Us!! Marathon of all the Bluey episodes! Meeting Bluey & Friends / Face painting / Games & Special Bluey Treats.”

The event never claimed to be an official Bluey sponsor or collaborator, nor did they say there would be any sort of free giveaways. They simply made a free event on Facebook to share that they’d do a Bluey-themed day at their Dirt Dog location. In all fairness, restaurants and other types of businesses do this sort of thing all the time!

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Bluey event at the Dirt Dog
Source: Facebook/@MariaHardley

Bluey event at the Dirt Dog

When I worked at a restaurant, we promoted themed shots of the day based on current events to try to draw in a couple of extra customers. But never would we have expected people to line up in masses just for a little free specially themed event. Even with the Facebook event’s 3,000 RSVPs, a Facebook RSVP can typically mean nothing and lead to a no-show, so it’s not crazy that Dirt Dog and its staff were unprepared for the mob of parents and toddlers to come.

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The Bluey event went horribly wrong when thousands of parents and kids showed up.

The event was so popular that KVVU-TV even showed up to report on the chaos it quickly morphed into. “They expected a few dozen people and regulars,” they reported, “Thousands RSVPed. Hundreds of families were left fuming, kids were disappointed … The restaurant … underestimated the power of Bluey.”

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The restaurant probably thought, Let’s do a themed event for a TV show kids love to bring in some families! How about ‘Bluey’? without knowing anything about how popular Bluey is among parents and kids. It’s one of the few shows today that parents can bear to watch and that also holds kids’ attentions long enough that parents can actually get some things done. So there’s a lot of love for Bluey from everyone in the family.

As the event overcrowded, families waited in line in the searing heat for normally priced food, a free face-painting booth, and homemade Bluey-themed goods while a Dirt Dog employee dressed in a makeshift Bluey costume greeted (and scared) the children. One traumatized child told the news, “He looked, like, unexpected. We could see his beard.”

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Parents are enraged by how Dirt Dog handled the event, but others support the establishment, which was quick to make amends.

After the event occurred, parents took to the Facebook event’s page to air their grievances. “When you order your Bluey event from Wish,” one woman wrote on the event, roasting the organizers. Another commented, “This was horrible and a waste of time. You p----- off a community of parents. I'll never be back to your establishment. My daughter was super disappointed.”

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Parents called the event “false advertising” and a “scam” to get people into the restaurant because there were “no friends of Bluey” and the watch party was just episodes streaming in the restaurant on mute. By the time many people arrived, the face-painting supplies had run out, as had the free baked goods.

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But from the restaurant’s response, it’s clear that they had no ill intentions! They immediately shared an apology, and the head of the franchise is allegedly working with the official Bluey team to create a well-executed event. Can we blame a little restaurant for trying to bring a little extra joy to their customers?

Sure, the execution was not great, but it’s not like they were trying to scam parents out of money, like the since-compared Fyre Festival. It was a free event with basic information that anyone could have organized! Clearly, the official Bluey team was not involved, and if you’re going to drive an hour just for a local restaurant’s free home-brewed Bluey event and get disappointed when it’s not up to Disney World's par, that’s on you.

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