ELYRIA — The sale of the Confederate flag will continue this summer at the Lorain County Fair, as will the protests against it.
At a Lorain County commissioners meeting Wednesday, Jeanine Donaldson, who heads up Fair Minded Coalition of Lorain County, said she, and several thousand others will not be attending this year’s fair because the flag will be.
“It’s that time of year again, for fairs and festivals, funnel cakes and fried cheese. However, there will be some of us that don’t go to the Lorain County Fair this year and I know some of you didn’t go to the fair last year, so I’m here to ask you not to give up,” she told the commissioners, noting the state fair in Columbus doesn’t permit selling the Confederate flag.
Donaldson said she reminded the local fair board of that about a month ago, when its members decided to permit the sale of the flag again this year and also pointed out the organization’s bylaws would permit such a ban.
“Under no circumstance will items of a questionable nature be sold or permitted on fairgrounds or in the building,” she said.
“For people who believe it’s just a piece of cloth or a piece of history, in today’s world, it’s the No. 1 recruitment tool for neo-Nazi groups.”
Commissioner Matt Lundy, who said at the end of May that the commissioners wouldn’t have a booth at the fair this year in protest, said he thinks it’s a reasonable request that Lorain County follow the state fair’s example.
“I don’t want people to see that and get the wrong impression of our county,” he said.
Lundy did note that just because the commissioners won’t have an official booth doesn’t mean they won’t be supporting the students who participate in 4H and other organizations.
“Decisions are made by adults and we don’t want it to have a negative impact on the students,” he said, acknowledging that the commissioners will be sponsoring awards for the students. “We want to make very clear we support the students and what they do.”
County Fair Board President Brian Twining has said in the past that vendors should be allowed to sell the Confederate flag because of First Amendment rights. On Wednesday, he declined further comment.
“The board has made its decision and we’re focused on getting this year’s fair ready,” he said.
The Lorain County Fair runs from Aug. 21-27. For more information, visit loraincountyfair.com.
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