Council approves ‘Carolina Classic Fair’

Council approves ‘Carolina Classic Fair’
October 24
05:37 2019

For the foreseeable future, the name of city’s annual fair will be the Carolina Classic Fair. The Winston-Salem City Council voted 7-2 on Monday, Oct. 21, to change the name of the Dixie Classic Fair, a name that has been a topic of discussions since earlier this year when local clergy called for the removal of the term “Dixie.” 

Talks about the name change ignited earlier this year when a group of residents led by Bishop Sir Walter Mack called for the term to be immediately removed. Mack and more than 20 other local pastors and ministers also held a press conference to call for the name change.

In response, a public forum was held at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds where hundreds of people showed up to share their thoughts. According to city officials, more than 11,000 people sent emails concerning the name change as well, many from different cities and states.

 After making the motion to approve the name Carolina Classic Fair, Councilmember and chair of the General Government Committee, Denise “D.D.” Adams, said joining the original names of the city’s two fairs will represent the community coming together. She said  “That was my reason, mayor and members of the council, for going with the connectivity of both historical events, right, wrong, or indifferent.”

Councilmember Dan Besse echoed Adams’ points and discussed a brief history of the names. He said if they don’t change the name to the Carolina Classic, they would be missing out on an opportunity to recover our shared past.

 “Dixie” has been associated with the local fair since the mid-1950s when the name was changed to include the term. At that time, the city of Winston-Salem had two fairs, the Dixie Classic Fair, for whites, and the Carolina Fair for blacks. When the Dixie Classic Fair was integrated, the Carolina Fair lost support and eventually disbanded. When the city took over the Dixie Classic Fair years later, the name stayed.

Councilmember Annette Scippio made a substitute motion to change the name to the Piedmont Classic Fair. She said “Piedmont” is a historic name that has been connected to the area for decades. She also mentioned that the term “Carolina” was too broad to represent our city and the need to distance ourselves from the past. 

“Piedmont is a name that has been attached to several of our major community businesses and outstanding organizations such as Piedmont Airlines which was founded in 1931,” Scippio continued. “Piedmont Federal Savings Bank founded in 1903. Piedmont Natural Gas, and Piedmont Craftsmen.

“I believe we must move forward and not rely on names that divided us.”

 Councilmember Robert Clark let it be clear that he didn’t care about the name and didn’t think the change would have any impact on attendance. He said, “Honestly, I don’t think it makes a hill of beans. I think people that come to the fair like the rides, the animals, they want to win a stuffed animal and enjoy the food.”

 According to city officials, the name change will officially go into effect in 2020. The name change is expected to cost nearly $100,000 to repaint signs, replace or change banners, and other promotional materials.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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