Willie Robertson (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)
BRISTOL — The Duck Commander won't be coming to Viking Hall, after all.
His wine deal apparently alienated the event's faith-based organizers, prompting them to cancel the show.
"Our greatest responsibility is to the young people we serve," Derek Bell, director of development for Greeneville-based Family Ministries, said in a news release. "Therefore, we feel that in light of the recent news that the stars of the show "Duck Dynasty" are partnering with Trinchero Family Estates to launch Duck Commander Wines, to continue with this event would send mixed messages to the young people who go through our Adolescent Drug and Alcohol program."
"Duck Dynasty" reality TV series star Willie Robertson was scheduled to appear at Viking Hall as a fundraising event for Family Ministries, a Christian non-profit organization that serves at-risk children. The event was originally slated for Oct. 19, but was postponed until April 12 because of scheduling conflict.
But on Monday, Family Ministries pulled the plug. Bell noted that about half of the children served by Family Ministries go through the drug and alcohol program.
"Our message must be consistent," Bell said. "The lives of those children may well hang in the balance. We certainly apologize to the people who have already purchased tickets, and pray they understand our position."
Tickets sold will be refunded by Viking Hall Civic Center and at e-tix.com.
Proceeds from the event would have benefited Family Ministries’ planned 10,000-square-foot expansion to provide updated classroom space and counseling facilities. The school expansion project broke ground in October with an estimated completion date of summer 2014.
Bell asked that anyone wishing to support the project with donations to contact him at 423-276-8877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.