WASHINGTON — The Confederate battle flag has been displayed at the Charles County Fair for years. But this year, for the first time, it will not be.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans typically displays the flag at the fair, and gives away small versions of it in exchange for donations.
But in recent years, the fair has received complaints about that.
‘We found that the flag and the symbol itself — some people felt this was a flag of hate,” J.T. Hindle, president of the fair’s board of directors, told WTOP.
So fair officials and the Sons of Confederate Veterans decided to make a change.
“They have agreed not to display the flag and the symbol, but still come to the fair. I think this is good for both sides,” said Hindle.
“The flag will not be flown. No symbols of the Confederacy will be on the fairgrounds, not for sale or display,” he said.
The reason is safety.
“We wanted the safety for our fairgoers while they were here, while they were getting here and while they were leaving,” Hindle said.
The fair also has a zero-tolerance policy outlined on its web page that bans things like disruptive and disorderly behavior, improper dress and general disrespect for others.
But fairgoers will still be allowed to wear a T-shirt with the Confederate flag on it.
“We can’t stop someone from wearing the flag, because that is a freedom that I’m not going to take away,” said Hindle.
“We’re certainly very pleased that … these groups were able to get together and work this out between themselves,” said Peter Murphy, president of the Board of Charles County Commissioners.
The commissioners don’t control the fair, which is run by a nonprofit organization that owns the fairgrounds.
But commissioners had scheduled a Tuesday night discussion to consider urging fair operators to prevent the flag from being displayed this year.
The Charles County Fair is scheduled to run Sept. 14—17.