North Carolina

Is ‘Southern’ the next to be banned, Confederate group asks after NC fair name change

A Confederate group in North Carolina was quick to criticize this week’s decision by the Winston-Salem City Council to change the name of the annual Dixie Classic Fair to the Carolina Classic Fair.

In a response posted online, North Carolina’s Sons of Confederate Veterans asked, “The word ‘Dixie’ signifies regional pride in the Southland and is a popular description for our region. So is the word ‘Southern.’ Is the word ‘Southern’ next to be considered offensive and to be banned from our vocabulary?”

The fair just finished its 135th year when city council members decided to change the name of the state’s second most popular fair.

The new name combines the Dixie Classic with the Carolina Fair, which was a parallel fair for black people during segregation. The Dixie Classic Fair was not integrated until 1963, city council members said during Monday’s debate.

“I think it’s amazing that we’ve gotten a lot of feedback about the name change, more to the positive side than what we’ve previously been having,” said council member Denise Adams, who chairs the committee that picked the new name.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans pushed back, saying “there is nothing offensive about the word Dixie.”

“The City Council says they want to distance themselves from the word Dixie, ‘which has Confederate roots.’ Why don’t they distance themselves from the region of America known as Dixie? A region that has been known as Dixie, since long before the War Between the States. There is nothing offensive about the word Dixie and an overwhelming majority of citizens wanted to retain the Dixie Classic Fair name. So, why not keep the name that the people the City Council supposedly represent want to keep?”

The group continued,“The only people that would find offense in the word Dixie are those that find offense in anything Southern. This is just another manufactured controversy, created in the minds of a few politicians that are willing to waste nearly 100 thousand dollars to appease their ego, while insulting Southerners, the very people that have attended the Dixie Classic Fair for more than 130 years.”

The agricultural fair, held each October, attracts an average of 325,000 people each year, according to the Winston-Salem Visitor Center.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.