The Lorain County Fair Board has announced that it will not prohibit the sale
of Confederate flags at the fair next week, raising concerned responses from local residents and groups. The Fair Minded Coalition for Lorain County, for one, has objected to the sale of the Confederate flag (and other products with that symbol) and the apparent promotion of its cultural meaning.
Recent events have thrown that opposition into even starker terms.
But the Coalition announced this week that it will back off from planned "activities," alluding to potential protests that members were organizing for fair week
(Aug. 21 - 27). The group is citing the specter of violence, and is now stating that they'd rather not stoke that fire any more than need be.
"We're reconsidering what actions we will be doing in Wellington — if we take any action at all," Jeanine Donaldson, head of the Coalition, said at a public event this week. "If people can come out and do what they did in Charlottesville, Virginia, what's stopping those same people that are pro-selling-the-flag at the fair from organizing and coming down to Lorain County?"
The Chronicle-Telegram reported
from the press conference, filming video and laying out the board's side of the story as well.
The fair board's own bylaws insist: “Under no circumstance will items of a questionable nature be sold or permitted on fairgrounds or in the building.” But the board has long held that the Confederate flag sales are a matter of free speech and must be treated as such.
Board members told the C-T
that there's a false equivalency at work when their approval of certain vendors is made to seem like approval of certain cultural phenomenon. “Are they saying that because we allow Confederate merchandise to be sold we’re white supremacists?” Board President Brian Twining said to the newspaper.