Wayne County Fair Issue
Following the 2015 Wayne County Fair, a community-based initiative began to prohibit the display and sale of items that include the Confederate flag at the fair in the future. To date (6-12-2016), the Wayne County Fair Board has taken and maintained the position that they will not prohibit. While there has been no direct formal communication from the fair board regarding reasoning, they appear to be taking their direction from the Ohio Fair Managers Association, their out of town lawyer, and the vendors who sell such items, none of which seem to have the slightest interest in harmony in our community. In 2015, the Ohio State Fair prohibited the display and sale of items that include the Confederate flag (see below). That same year, the state of South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from the state capitol (see below). Many other examples exist. It is time for action for harmony in Wayne County.
There have been various attempts to smokescreen the core notions here.
There are only two core notions and they are:
2) Wayne County (our community)
This is not a legal issue. It is not a First Amendment issue. It is not a financial issue. The Wayne County Fair Board has not been forthcoming with a single legitimate point of support for the position that they have taken and maintained, to allow the display and sale of the Confederate flag.
A growing number of organizations and individuals have stated that they will not continue their historic participation in the Wayne County Fair over this issue. These include former significant buyers of livestock auctioned by youth and those who have provided other financial support, have exhibited and have contributed in other ways. The very nature of the fair may be in jeopardy. Most certainly the overwhelming community response is that this is both a threat and an embarrassment to our community. The implication and appearance is that the Wayne County Fair Board supports hate in Wayne County.
Readers are encouraged to express their concern to the Wayne County Fair Board:
Wayne County Fair
199 Vanover Street (Use this for personal visit)
PO Box 3 (Use this for USPS delivery)
Wooster, Ohio 44691
Phone: (330) 262-8001
Such expressions of concern can be made public through copies to the Wooster Daily Record and support@RomichFoundation.org. The monthly meetings of the fair board are at 8:00 PM on the third Monday at the Armstrong Building, just west of the grandstand. Community members have presented to the fair board prior to their formal meeting.
Simple Cost - Benefit Analysis
sale and display
of Confederate flag items.
sale and display
of Confederate flag items.
Wayne County money
leaves the area.
No real benefit
except to vendors.
(Fair attendees have other
non-public sources to purchase these items, although not at WalMart, Amazon, Sears, eBay, etc. for obvious reason.)
Money stays in
So if the above analysis is so obvious, why is this an issue?
At the March 21, 2016 meeting of the Wayne County Fair Board, it became clear that the fair board had the impression that there is a legal reason why they must take the positon of allowing the sale and display of Confederate flag items. (They have since been informed that there is no legal reason why they must allow.) Their "consultants and lawyers" have advised them on this matter. There is no indication that their consultants and lawyers have any interest in harmony in our community. Nor is there any forthcoming explanation as to why other organizations have succeeded in banning the sale and display of Confederate flag items and the Wayne County Fair Board could not. Further, it is unclear why there is a distinction between Confederate flag items and other items that are presently banned, such as "... OBSCENE PICTURES OR LETTERING, .... GUNS, KNIVES, SWORDS, OR REPLICA OF ANY WEAPONS".
Below are various resources that may be useful for further efforts to come to a positive resolution on this matter. The general response from the community seems to be that the members of the Wayne County Fair Board are basically good people who have been misguided and are taking some time to sort this out. The community will continue to help with this process until it is complete.
Ohio Fair Managers Association Resolution
Note: This resolution leaves the decision to the local fair, but is worded in a way that leaves
the impression that display and sale of Confederate flag items is encouraged.
March 2, 2016 open letter of perspective.
Daily Record Articles and Letters
Listed in chronological order. (Most recent at the bottom.)
Note: In addition to the primary content of these items, comments can generally be found lower on the pages.
November 21, 2015 Letter: Confederate flag doesn't fit in with Wayne County Fair
November 25, 2015 Letter: Slavery was main reason for war
December 9, 2015 Letter: Tired of complaining and protests
January 22, 2016 Letter: Stop support for image of violence
March 2, 2016 Letter: Letter: Fair board should ban rebel flag
March 6, 2016 Article: Board takes 'stance' on flag
March 13, 2013: Quote-Worthy This Week
March 15, 2016 Letter: Confederate flag should not be at fair
March 20, 2016 Article: Protesting fair board decision to Confederate material on grounds
March 25, 2016 Letter: Taking issue with protest over Confederate flag (corrected)
March 26, 2016 Letter: Wrong to protest sale of flag at fair (corrected)
March 28, 2016 Letter: Fair board should change flag stance
March 30, 2016 Letter: Confederate flag symbol of hate, bigotry
April 3, 2016 Commentary: Don't fight the confederate flag. Fight for what it stands
April 7, 2016 Letter: Heard enough about confederate flag sales
April 9, 2016 Letter: Haters gonna hate. Get over it
April 16, 2016 Letter: Confederate Flag a Symbol of Racism
April 20, 2016 Article: Fair board isn't swayed
May 6, 2016 Letter: Disappointed in fair board's flag decision
May 19, 2016 Letter: Suitable venue for flag protest
June 2, 2016 Letter: Fair celebrates life; flag endorses hate
June 4, 2016 Letter: Story behind flag and Civil War
June 15, 2016 Letter: Use common sense in regard to flag
June 28, 2016 Article: Locals empowered to battle fair board
July 1, 2016 Letter: Flag's meaning in past, and its meaning now
Wooster Weekly News Articles
Expressions of Concern
(This area of this resource page is under construction. Contributions are invited.)
This eight page article appeared in the Winter 2015
Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Ohio State Fair bans Confederate flag items
“The Ohio State Fair has long held a policy that prohibits the sale of merchandise that contains offensive wording, lettering or graphics,” General Manager Virgil L. Strickler wrote in a letter to vendors on Thursday. “As such, beginning with the 2015 Ohio State Fair, the sale or display of confederate flags and/or confederate flag merchandise shall be prohibited. Any vendors found to be selling any items featuring the image of the confederate flag will be asked to promptly remove those items.”
NASCAR tracks unite, ask fans not to fly Confederate flag
The facilities vowed to have the most "welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment."
The Federalist: Let's Not Get Trolled on the Confederate Flag
Don’t React—Make a Judicious Decision
"So instead of being lured into the usual cycle of hostility, it is better to ask: how would we deal with this if we were acting, not out of hostility, but out of good will toward our fellow Americans? In this case, we would take into account all those who understandably (and correctly) see the Confederate flag as a giant unwelcome mat, representing the era in which people like them were oppressed and disenfranchised. Then we would limit the flag to those places and occasions in which its meaning really is strictly historical. Jeb Bush, who has the most experience with this issue, having faced a similar decision as governor of Florida, hit the right note when he advocated “moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.” It’s not about trying to expunge this chapter of the South’s history. It’s about making sure it remains history, and that we recognize all of that history, including the unpleasant parts."
Baptists oppose Confederate flag, talk racial unity
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday urged Christians to stop displaying the Confederate battle flag, recognizing that it is perceived by many as a "symbol of hatred, bigotry and racism" that offends millions of people
"And in the end, the Wayne County Fair Board, like Cinderella, had courage and was kind."