Interesting times in Berea, Kentucky. Last year you may recall that what would’ve been the 20th anniversary celebration of the city’s Spoonbread Festival was cancelled in a dust-up over the Confederate flag.
A group called Bereans United for Racial Justice protested over the availability of Confederate flag memorabilia for sale at the event.
In 2015, 60k people traipsed across the festival grounds undoubtedly leading to a boon for area merchants. Moneys aside, then chamber of commerce president Jennifer Napier stated “…We are a nonpartisan business entity that cannot take sides on issues such as the Confederate flag.”
They then took a side and cancelled the festival.
Right-thinking individuals have now carried the day in Berea, and the 2017 Spoonbread Festival is back on track with some provisos for the Confederate crowd.
The chamber of commerce is forbidden to sell, display, give away, or permit any vendor or attendee to sell, display or give away any merchandise that resembles the Confederate flag with exceptions for history books or “other educational, cultural, artistic, and interpretive media” where the flag is depicted, e.g. literature related to a Civil War battle that happened in Madison County.
However, displays “reflecting the influence of popular culture” will be permitted. This makes way for the General Lee MOPAR automobile, featured in the Dukes of Hazzard, to once again be shown on the festival grounds.
No word on whether ‘Dixie’ will be allowed to blare forth from the car’s horn as has been the tradition since time immemorial.
While vendors can use the retractable belt barrier to mark their land, they should not be found in violation of the new agreement, they will be banned from participating in future Spoonbread Festivals.
The new rules were put in place to ensure that the Confederate flag “is not used as a symbol of segregation, domination, white supremacy or to suppress minority rights on city property or at city events or sponsored activities.”
It’s 2017 y’all.
Allow me to make a small prediction. Dozens of people will show up to the event in Confederate flag t-shirts, bandanas, visors, and jorts. Dozens more will attend with tattoos featuring the Confederate flag.
I attended the World Chicken Festival in London, Kentucky last Fall, and the Confederate flag was well-represented at the party. If you go to any festival in rural Kentucky you will see many representations of the flag. The same can be said of events in Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and any other southern state.
The flag is not going away anytime soon, and attempts to ban it will surely result in even more people arriving in Confederate get-ups.
Our coverage from last year’s fracas.
And our coverage of the World Chicken Festival in nearby London including a photo of Confederate merchandise on offer.