DIXIE CLASSIC FAIR

The Winston-Salem City Council voted 4-2 on Monday to change the Dixie Classic Fair name, an issue that continues to be divisive.

The City of Winston-Salem management has proposed “Twin City Classic Fair” as the new name for the Dixie Classic Fair starting in 2020.

A resolution to change the name of the city fair will go before the Community Development/Housing/General Government Committee on Tuesday.

City Manager Lee Garrity said Friday that the committee can vote in favor of the name, vote “no” on the name or hold it in committee and not take any action.

“If they take an action, it would go forward to the full (Winston-Salem City) council the following Monday, Aug. 16,” Garrity said.

Referring to the timing of the name change, he said it appeared that the majority of council members wanted a name change for the Dixie Classic Fair in time for next year’s city fair.

“If we are going to get it changed for the 2020 fair, we would like to begin the process of rolling it out at the end of this year’s fair,” Garrity said. “It will take time to get out the new logo and a marketing plan for the new name.”

City officials adopted a resolution to change the name of the Dixie Classic Fair of Northwest North Carolina Aug. 19, followed by a subsequent resolution that directed city staff to develop a process to come up with a new name. City management, and fairgrounds and marketing staff reviewed names submitted during a public input process in April and May. Twin City Classic Fair was one of a number of names generated from an online survey and citizen feedback phone line. The name “Twin City” was also suggested during a public input meeting.

Initially, city management discussed three names with Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and members of the Winston-Salem City Council. Those suggested names were Carolina Classic Fair, Carolina AgriClassic Fair and “The” Classic Fair.

Garrity said that he and Ben Rowe, an assistant city manager, “talked individually with all elected officials to get their feedback.”

Through those discussions, the names “Twin City Classic Fair” and “Winston-Salem Classic Fair” were added to the list.

“Based on what we heard from them, I recommended Twin City Classic Fair," Garrity said.

He said he can’t speak for the city council members but believes Twin City Classic Fair stood out because “there was a desire to have an identity with Winston-Salem.”

The proposal to change the fair’s name has been controversial.

On Aug. 19, when the council voted in favor of the name change, more than 60 people packed the council chamber at City Hall, and a spillover crowd occupied a nearby conference room to watch on a video link.

Among the attendees were people both for and against the change.

Advocates of a change have called the name Dixie a reminder of the Old South, slavery and segregation. Opponents have said that the word is a regional identifier and appears in all kinds of contexts from Dixie cups to Dixie Chicks.

The fair has had the name Dixie Classic Fair since 1956.

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