Letter: No more Confederate flags at Delaware County Fair

The Delaware County Fair, held in Walton the middle of August, has been an annual rite of summer for 132 years. But the good will of the Fair has been marred in recent years by the Fair Board’s refusal to comply with the community demand that vendors be prohibited from selling merchandise bearing the Confederate flag.

Two years ago, the organization Fair for All was formed with the goal of banning Confederate flag merchandise from all N.Y. county fairs and so far eight fairs have prohibited these racist items. The week before our 2017 Fair opened, the Unite the Right rally, at which counter protester Heather Heyer was killed by a 20-year-old white supremacist, took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. Unite the Right marchers carried Confederate battle flags along with Nazi paraphernalia and assault-style rifles.

Fair for All organized a large protest rally outside the Fair gate the Sunday before opening day. The then and current head of the Fair board, Ed Rossley, tried to have the protesters arrested. The then and current Delaware County Sheriff Craig DuMond refused.

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The protesters presented a petition to the Fair Board, but it was business as usual for Confederate flag items at the Fair. For 2018, the Fair board announced that vendors would only be allowed to display Confederate flag merchandise ‘inside their tents.’ This was a pointless and probably disingenuous measure since vendors’ tents are wide open and the Confederate flag was visible in several of them.

At an April 29th meeting, in response to pressure from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, the N.Y. State Attorney General, N.Y. State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, Fair for All and community members, the Fair Board decided to prohibit the display of Confederate flag merchandise but, perversely, continue to allow its sale! The Board has yet to put this new policy into writing or share it publicly. Judging by the Fair Board’s track record, Fair for All is continuing to demand that the Delaware County Fair prohibit both the display and sale of these divisive, disrespectful and dangerous items. You can help by writing to the Delaware County Fair Board, Ed Rossley, Chair, Fair Street, PO Box 344, Walton NY 13856. Please use the Fair for All slogan, ‘Hate Spoils the Fun’ in your letter.

Matt Frisch
Shandaken

There are 10 comments

  1. John Brown

    “Glory, glory hallelujah,
    Teacher hit me with a ruler,
    I bopped her on the bean,
    With a rotten tangerine,
    And the teeth came marching out.”

  2. Brett

    No more Confederate flags almost anywhere, ever, please. There is no reason for them to be displayed in any context or for any purpose other than historical.

  3. Bloody Bill Anerson

    In “Johnson vs. Texas” the Supreme Court ruled that burning an American Flag was protected under the First Amendment.

    Try burning a Confederate flag in Dixie, which, by the way, includes Arizona when Tuscon was the Confederate Capitol for all of two weeks. The Union Army slit all the throats of the Confederate’s battlefield survivors after the Blue’s won the final, second altercation. The Greys had won the first battle.

  4. Don Hornbeck

    Whatever your opinion is about the Confederate flag please read “Bury my Heart at Woulded Knee” that documents many orders carried out by Union soldiers for decades to kill and eliminate native American Indians – including women and children. Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Our country’s history has many disgraced and they are not just from one side.

    1. Moses Craft

      Disgusting. The massacre at Wounded Knee took place in 1890 had nothing to do with the Civil War. Shame on you for attempting to smear the veterans of the Civil War with war crimes that took place a generation later. How dare you.

      1. Moses Maimonides

        Both General Nelson A. Miles and Colonel James W. Forsyth fought in the Civil War and Miles rescinded Forsyth due to the Wounded Knee Massacre.

  5. Joseph E Karolys

    Its called freedom of speech. Don’t want a confederate flag, it’s simple, Don’t buy one. Are we going to outlaw sausage and pepper sandwiches at the fair because the vegans are offended? Come on.

    1. Jaymes Nohns

      I know right? However, we should make construction debris landfills illegal if they affect your neighbor’s way of life……

Comments are closed.