Dogwood Festival: Religious groups OK
Posted April 9, 2008 2:14 p.m. EDT
Updated April 24, 2009 9:18 a.m. EDT
Fayetteville, N.C. — Dogwood Festival organizers denied Wednesday that they have barred religious groups from participating in the annual event.
The pastor of Manna Church recently told WRAL that his church's application to operate a booth at the April 25-27 festival was rejected because organizers were enforcing a rule prohibiting religious groups. Organizers said they had received complaints from festival attendees of churches pushing religious materials on them, and organizers also said it wasn't fair to food vendors to have churches giving away food and drinks.
In a statement released Wednesday, Dogwood Festival officials said churches and political organizations are allowed to apply as food vendors or as hosts of sanctioned events.
"All groups, including churches, are allowed and encouraged to participate as vendors as long as they are willing to adhere to the festival's rules regarding the items offered for sale and how they conduct their business," the statement said. "These rules are established to make the festival fair to all vendors and enjoyable for all attendees."
Fayetteville officials urged people to support the festival, saying the City Council has asked organizers to review its policies on religious groups to see if they need to be amended.