‘Inappropriate and appalling’: Downtown West Bend Association bans all political organizations from renting stalls at Farmer’s Market

WEST BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) – All political organizations, affiliates and entities will have their applications for stall and stall rentals at West Bend Farmers Market (WBFM) denied effective immediately, according to the Downtown West Bend Association (DWBA) Board of Directors.

It comes after a swastika was apparently taped to a sign at the Washington County Republicans’ booth on Saturday, September 24.

Mayor of West Bend, Christophe Jenkins said the graphic image was “appalling”.

“I’m all about political discourse and having good debates in the public square, but wrapping up one side or the other and tying them to hate groups is just not appropriate and it’s not representative. of who we are as West Benders,” Mayor Jenkins said.

Washington County Republican Party Chairman Randy Marquardt posted the following statement on Facebook:

“Regarding the social media posts about a sign displayed at our stall at West Bend Farmers Market on September 23rd: it was the brainchild of an overzealous volunteer who manned our stall that morning. “This was an ill-conceived attempt to associate the Democratic Party with extremism and totalitarian regimes. It was done without my approval, or that of our Board of Directors. This imagery and implied rhetoric is unacceptable in the political speech.The Washington County Republican Party condemns its use and apologizes to our community.

Washington County Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Roberts said there was certainly “a lot of fear and anger” felt by witnesses.

“It is extremely distressing that this has been displayed in any way in our community,” Roberts said.

On Wednesday, the DWBA board decided to ban all political speech from entering the family event.

While the DWBA declined to comment after a request from CBS 58, the WBFM Facebook page posted this statement:

“For thirty years, the West Bend Farmers Market has flourished to the point of being voted the best farmers’ market in Wisconsin. Every Saturday, thousands of visitors enjoy the vendors, their produce, the company of friends and neighbors, the setting, and the friendliness of it all. The imagery and rhetoric displayed last Saturday at the market was completely unacceptable and does not reflect the mission and values ​​of the Downtown West Bend Association which organizes the market.

After careful consideration, bolstered by overwhelming feedback from our community, the Downtown West Bend Association Board of Directors has made a final decision, stating, “Effective immediately, the West Bend Farmers Market will not be accepting applications political organizations, affiliations and/or politically motivated entities to rent stalls at the West Bend Farmers Market.

West Bend Farmers Market’s mission is to help secure the future of locally grown sustainable food, increase support for sustainable farmers, educate our community, and provide direct access to nutritious fresh food. We also believe strongly in community, providing our community and guests with an amazing experience in downtown West Bend, promoting local shops, restaurants and businesses. The market here is for local farmers, shops, artisans, and West Bend and wider communities. »

“Well, I would have liked to see some sort of compromise so that this isolated event wouldn’t ruin it for everyone, but I understand and absolutely respect the will of their board and the decision to pull everyone out.” , said the mayor. Jenkins said.

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