Should the word "Dixie" be removed from the Dixie Classic Fair?
That was the question raised Monday night, during a Winston-Salem committee meeting, the home of the annual fair. It's the second largest fair in North Carolina. The finance committee was looking at ideas to bring more people to the fair and Councilman James Taylor Jr. brought up concerns some voters told him they had with the word "Dixie" in the fair's title.
Taylor said dozens of people have told him they won't go to the fair because of that word, but to be clear, there is no official vote or decision set to be made on changing the fair's name. Taylor said "Dixie" can give people a sense of pride or degradation.
"We no longer want to be divisive in the city of Winston-Salem and if the term ‘Dixie' is divisive, I feel that we as a community should consider other alternatives. The bottom line is if the community doesn't want it, I won't support it," Taylor said.
According to Merriam Webster, Dixie is defined as "the states of the Southeast United States & especially those which constituted the Confederacy." Here's what some other people had to say about the term, "Dixie."
"I just think about the fair and every time as a little kid, you know, it has really good connotations with me," Landon Richardson said.
"When I first hear the word Dixie I just think about it's a small southern town and you know Dixie is a southern term that denotes southern heritage," Rodney L. Davis said.
Taylor said ever since the conversation got coverage, he's also received dozens of responses on the other side supporting the name. Taylor said he did not bring up the topic to split the community.
"I would issue an apology and say my intent was never to divide us. It was always to unite us. And, we can't judge people on newspaper articles and on headlines, we have to judge the heart," Taylor said.
So, where does Taylor stand on this issue? He said at this point, his opinion doesn't matter, it's the people's decision.
"My intentions were never to change the name, but to bring it up for consideration. I don't get to make that decision. The power should always be in the hands of the people," he said.
WFMY News 2 reached out to all of the other members of Winston-Salem's city council Tuesday evening and heard back from one member, Molly Leight. She said any problem with the word "Dixie" does not resonate with her, but she wouldn't be opposed to a name change.
"I would support changing the name of the fair because it is indeed a regional fair and I think something like the Piedmont Classic Fair or something like that actually makes more sense. Because we have in fact heard over half of the attendees are from outside the county," Leight said.
Remember, this was just a conversation during a committee meeting. There are no votes or public forums planned at this time.
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