After complaining to organizers of the Vermont state fair in Rutland about the presence of Confederate flags, no Confederate flags were visible at any of the vendors on the fairgrouns by Thursday. Leadership at the Rutland Area NAACP said, however, that organizers of the Vermont State Fair had refused to ban the sale of confederate flag merchandise on the fairgrounds.
Local NAACP President Tabitha Pohl-Moore asked fair organizers several times for a ban. Fair organizers responded by asking the NAACP to identify any vendors believed to sell Confederate-themed merchandise. But when the NAACP requested a list of all vendors at the state fair, fair organizers refused and claimed that it was private information.
Vermont State Fair President Luey Clough insisted that it is not fair's responsibility to impose a ban on certain merchandise. Clough accused the NAACP of fueling a non-issue. Even so, he asked state fair vendors not to sell confederate flag merchandise.
However, Pohl-Moore was not satisfied. Pohl-Moore said that a ban on the offending merchandise is an important step to take, and noted that venues in New York and elsewhere in Vermont have instituted bans. According to local media, she said that fair organizers are not doing their job if they do not make fair visitors feel welcome. Rutland Area NAACP has started a petition at Change.org to induce the fair to ban the flag outright. As of Thursday, no more Confederate flags were visible at the Vermont State Fair.
A ban on Confederate merchandise is in effect for the fair in nearby Addison County. Also, the Champlain Valley Fair (which opens on August 24) does not have formal ban in place, but fair organizers have asked vendors to refrain from selling Confederate merchandise.
On Change.org, the Rutland NAACP states:
“The Confederate flag is a widely-known symbol of hate. It is the divisive emblem for many past and present neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups around the country, and it was proudly displayed by Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who massacred 9 black people in their church. Its sale and display has been proactively banned at other Vermont fairs and field days as well as many states, including several southern states. This symbol, like the Swastika, has no place in society, let alone in a family-oriented venue such as the Vermont State Fair as it represents a horrific past for many and a heritage of hatred for others.”