The Garland County Fair is a time for family fun, thrilling rides, good eats... and hot button political issues?
In an area of the fair local businesses and organizations are encouraged to setup booths. Here, you can find the Garland County Republican and Democratic Parties setup registering people to vote and advocating for their respective candidates. You can also find the Veterans of Foreign Wars providing information to existing veterans, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans displaying flags, medals, photos and literature.
After day two of the fair, community members took to social media Tuesday with complaints of the booth's presence.
John Digby, who oversees vendor applications for the fair, said the Sons of Confederate Veterans have setup at the fair for about 10 years, and this is the first time they have heard an upset from community members.
With both the Sons and VFW being veteran organizations, Digby said the fair "remains neutral" and can't prohibit one booth from setting up, and not the other.
The fair does not generally deny applications, so long as the booths aren't promoting illegal behaviors, he said. The only time they have considered denial of a booth is when an electronic cigarette station applied. Digby said they didn't feel this was "appropriate" for the fair's atmosphere, so they requested to the vendor they withdraw the application. He said the vendor complied with the request and was not officially denied.
When asked about the appropriateness of the Sons of Confederate booth, Digby said he doesn't know what is inappropriate about it because there are "an equal number of people who don't have a problem with it than those who do." He said the fair cannot turn away a booth simply because they disagree with their ideas.
"Unless they come up with some kind of ordinance, there is nothing to do," he said.