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The Cedarburg Winter Festival brought forth a bevy of fun activities with much-welcomed warm weather.

Up and down Washington Avenue, residents and visitors took in ice sculptures, the Winter Festival Parade, and various dining and shopping options.

One restaurant on the street, however, built a crowd for a different reason.

Outside of the August Weber Haus, members of the Committee for a Safe Cedarburg staged a protest to inform passersby about the restaurant's troubling allegations. Committee members handed out flyers adorned with quotes from news stories surrounding the mug shot of restaurant manager Jacob Banas, who has been accused by several women of drugging and sexually assaulting them after visiting the restaurant.

Banas subsequently filed a defamation suit against four women in August in Milwaukee County. The case has since moved to Ozaukee County, a scheduling conference set for March 10.

Antonio Ramirez, one of the organizers of the protest, said the committee intends to protest outside of the August Weber Haus during every festival for the sake of outside visitors to the city.

"We are deeply concerned about the allegations against Jacob Banas and the restaurant, and we believe that people should know before entering," said Ramirez.

The protest began in the morning when the restaurant was already open. In December, the Cedarburg Common Council passed new requirements for establishments with liquor licenses to be open a minimum of four hours a day and 15 days a month. The August Weber Haus subsequently began posting on its Facebook page when it is open, usually during morning hours.

Several local pedestrians stopped to praise the work of the protesters.

Aaron Schultz, a member of the group Friends of Historic Cedarburg, sees this issue and the ongoing debate regarding the St. Francis Borgia development as a reflection of the city's commitment to its identity. 

"There's been a real awakening in this community where people are not going to sit back and be powerless," said Schultz. "It's inspiring that these folks are taking the time out of their busy schedules to stand up for what they think is right"

Steve Banas, co-owner of the August Weber Haus and father of Jacob, came outside at one point and took photos of the protest.

"Everybody has a right to protest. That's all I have to say," said Steve Banas.

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