POLICE were called to angry scenes at a fun day on Saturday after parents turned on organisers to demand refunds.

Parents said they paid up to £36 a ticket to enjoy castles made out of cardboard boxes and other ‘homemade’ attractions at the Kidz Fest event at Orsett Showground.

One of the attractions on offer, according to a stall holder, was a ‘circus skills workshop’ made up of “a piece of string and batons lying on the ground.”

Around 100 angry parents confronted Winterfest organisers in a confrontation that turned ugly, leading Essex Police to be called to the event.

Onlookers said event manager Tomo Kembery tried to claim he was not in charge, leading the crowd to get more angry.

Mr Kembery issued an apology today after fuming parents and stall holders took to Facebook to express their outrage over the weekend, and promised “refunds were being processed.”

Claire Gibson, 42, of Chestnut Avenue, Grays, who works as an Administrative Assistant at Little Thurrock Primary School and took her three children to the event said they felt "totally robbed".

She said: "It was a disgrace. The whole thing was shambolic, only 4 toilets which were filthy, no shade, no baby change facilities. We spent well in excess of £120 for a glorified school fete! So many angry parents and upset children."

One Chelmsford-based stall holder who paid £35 to attend the event in the hope of making money for her favourite charity, but lost money, said she was “fuming.”

Peige Greensted, 23, of Pembroke Place, who regularly runs charity stalls for Amy and Friends, for children with Cockayne Syndrome, said: “It was really upsetting. I work four different jobs and I got up to lose money on my day off.

“I was told it would be ten times bigger than it was. He even let people book on Sunday after he knew it was cancelled. He personally hasn’t contacted any of us to apologise.”

“The advertisement was totally different to what he put on. He assured me there would be at least 3,000 people and only 1,000 turned up. And no-one wanted to spend money because they were so annoyed.

Iain Webb, 40, of Winchmore Hall, who had travelled all the way from London with his two kids, 6 and 8, after buying discounted Groupon £9 tickets, labelled it “shambolic.”

He said: “It was just really annoying. We travelled an hour and a half to get there and there was a cardboard castle with paintbrushes to decorate it, a free arts and crafts stall and you could hold a guinea pig and rabbit. That was it.

“My kids couldn’t understand why they would do that to kids.

“We were expecting a full day of things to do. Every single person there felt they had been misled. We ended up spending a lot of money.

“When my kids saw the ‘castle’ they just thought it was rubbish left lying in the middle of a field.”

In a statement, Mr Kembery said organisers were “really upset by the obvious outcome and disappointment of Kidz Fest that has been portrayed in the media today.

“Winter Fest have offered refunds to customers of Kidz Fest who were unhappy with the event as a gesture of good will. This is by no means an admission of any liability of wrong doings.

“We feel the event was as advertised with a clear indication of what was included in the ticket price. At the bottom of the advertisement text on our website, we clearly listed what activities would be chargeable.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and we are currently processing refund requests."

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Police were contacted shortly before 2pm on Saturday, August 6 following a disturbance at Orsett Show in Rectory Road in Grays.

“The disturbance was following a civil dispute between attendees and the organisers of the show.

“Officers attended to prevent breach of the peace and offered words of advice to attendees.”

A spokeswoman for Thurrock Council said they received an application for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) on July 13 for a children's entertainment event which was due to take place on Saturday 6 August on privately owned land in Orsett.

She said: "The license (TEN) was granted based on the information provided within the organiser's application which was assessed by in accordance with the relevant licensing legislation. The application met the conditions of the event licence."

"We are aware that some attendees were dissatisfied with the quality of the event and we would encourage people to contact the event organiser for a refund.

Council Leader Rob Gledhill said: “The Local Authority is responsible for ensuring events are safe and as part of that scrutiny, a multi-agency consultative approach is taken to assess the measures organisers have put in place. 

"It is disappointing that it appears that the event organiser has put on an event which has not met attendee’s expectations.”

A spokesman for the upcoming Kids Fest event this Saturday in Chelmsford said it was “nothing to do” with the Orsett August 6 event, and was being run by a different company, Party Man.