DEER PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A big Long Island food festival hasn’t been able to operate since before the pandemic.

Organizers are worried the business won’t survive without financial help, which would impact the vendors that rely on the event.

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CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis has more on their pleas for help.

Cooking up crepes is Hayk Mendikayn’s specialty on board the Crepes & Bakes food truck. The scoop, he said, is most businesses like his wouldn’t survive without big events.

“It would be extremely hard for everyone, all the food trucks. We just basically going to rely on just catering,” Mendikyan said.

And a major one for him is the Famous Food Festival, which since 2016 has been bringing about 70 Tri-State Area food vendors to the parking lot of the Deer Park Tanger outlets twice a year.

“The past year and a half has been tough. We’ve been on the fringe,” said Eric Arshravan, co-owner and CEO of the Famous Food Festival.

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The festival owners said they haven’t been able to hold an event since before the pandemic, and are at risk of shutting down entirely.

“There’s a whole list of expenses that really come together to put on this event. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, to kind of curate this whole experience,” co-owner and CMO Dylan Ross said.

They were able to secure two Small Business Administration-backed Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling about $29,000, but, still struggling, applied for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

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“Not exactly sure why, but we were denied. We fit every category listed within their checklist of items that you have to hit,” Arshravan said.

CBS2 reached out to the SBA, which said per the Economic Aid Act, eligible entities must fall under specific categories, including “live venue operators” or “promoters,” which are defined in the performing arts space.

“Some of our counterparts have received funding and we’re exactly the same as them, so we’re not sure what this reason could be,” Ross said.

They sent a letter asking for help to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who DeAngelis reached out to but did not immediately get a response, along with other local organizations.

“It’s tough to really get in touch with them and it’s tough to get heard. We just want to make sure that all the businesses that started here on Long Island and Manhattan and whatnot, they’re able to continue,” Arshravan said.

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Famous Food Festival is having its first major event since the pandemic started at the outlets in September and the owners hope it’s successful in order to keep this business afloat.

The SBA said it will soon announce an opportunity for appeals and reconsiderations for those who have applied for a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

The SBA directs businesses to its resource partner network, the New York Small Business Development Center, which is run out of the SUNY system. There, counselors provide one-on-one assistance to small business owners, for every stage of its life cycle, including recovery. More information can be found here.

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Editors note: This story first appeared on July 21, 2021. 

Jenna DeAngelis