Anyone expecting a typical opening day of the the Ulster County Fair must not have been reading the news this past week.
The controversy over the cancellation of a performance by the country/southern rock group Confederate Railroad, and renewed attention to the public display of symbols of the Confederate Flag, carried over into fair’s first day and night.
First, as the Daily Freeman reported, some vendors were selling items with symbols of the Confederacy despite a 2015 ban. By today, those items were reportedly nowhere to be seen.
Next, the opening night entertainment, the local band 90 Proof, made a statement on stage in support of the group Confederate Railroad and critical of the cancellation by the fair’s management, which came at the urging of Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, who called the Confederate Flag a “symbol of division and racism.” (Aside from the band’s name, its logo also includes two Confederate battle flags.)
Singer Raymond Minew, donning a shirt with a Confederate Railroad logo on the front and the words “90 PROOF SUPPORTS CONFEDERATE RAILROAD” on the back, said:
“In this great country we live in, we all have the right and the honor to have our own opinions and our own beliefs, and it is my opinion, and the rest of us [gesturing toward the group], that cancelling Confederate Railroad was the wrong decision. But it was not the fair’s fault. So to all you haters out there, and all you politicians who think you can tell us what to do, we got one thing to say to you, you can kiss my country ass!”
The band launched into the song bearing the name of those last four words by Blake Shelton and later performed Confederate Railroad’s biggest hit, “Trashy Women.”
Here’s a video of that part of the performance by videographer Dave Beesmer, posted to the FrontRowDave Facebook page.
For more on the fair, check out our article with the full musical performance schedule, as well as daily entertainment.