In response to a request by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, German Fest in Milwaukee will no longer illegally require attendees to go to the festival's church service in order to enter the festival for free on Sunday morning.
FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott contacted German Fest in a Feb. 28 letter requesting the festival treat people of all beliefs and non-beliefs equally, and modify its promotion allowing festival patrons who attend a church service to enter free. Everyone else was required to pay the $13 entrance fee. The church service rotates between a Catholic mass and a Protestant service, which is held on German Fest grounds.
Elliott explained how the policy unlawfully discriminated on the basis of religion and asked that German Fest cease offering a free or reduced rate to churchgoers.
German Fest's legal counsel responded in a March 29 email saying the free admission promotion and church service attendance will be uncoupled. All German Fest attendees will now be able to receive free admission to the fest if they enter at the south gate between 11:30 am and noon on Sunday, which is when the festival opens.
German Fest's decision follows similar actions by Mexican Fiesta and Irish Fest prompted by FFRF.