WELLINGTON — Joe Maybaugh didn’t know there were people who had a problem with the Confederate flag until just a few days into the Lorain County Fair.
But that realization, only a week ago, prompted Maybaugh to take action.
Maybaugh, a staunch supporter of the flag, who said he often flies it from the back of his vehicle, started an “Ohio Confederate Support Group” on Facebook and held a Confederate flag run Sunday, inviting other flag supporters to drive with him around the fair, displaying their support for the flag.
His decision to hold the run came after Lorain County Commissioner Matt Lundy and other Lorain County Democrats spoke out against the Lorain County Fair Board’s decision to allow vendors to sell the flag at the fair this year.
About 50 people with 16 vehicles between them participated in the run, Maybaugh said. Touting symbols of the Confederacy, including flags and bumper stickers, the group wound through Wellington and around the Lorain County Fair twice.
It was a way to thank the Fair Board but also to remind people of how the group sees the flag as a symbol.
“It’s not about racism. Not one little bit,” Maybaugh said, adding that he believes the flag is a sign of free speech and, “people standing behind what they believe in.”
Lundy and other Lorain County Democrats spoke out against the flag as a symbol of slavery and revolt against the United States during the fair last week, with Lundy saying that the flag is embraced by groups promoting hatred.
Maybaugh said he felt that in the days following Lundy’s words, the general public was only hearing one side of the story.
“That’s what prompted me to come forward,” he said.
Maybaugh, who said he plans to hold another rally next year to urge the Fair Board to again allow the flag to be sold, also planned a second flag run tonight.
This post has been updated to reflect the following correction: The second flag run will be at 7 p.m. tonight.
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