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Sponsors drop out of Lorain Co. Fair, citing concerns of COVID-19, sale of Confederate Flag

Lorain fair Confederate flag protest intensifies
Posted at 12:49 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 19:57:03-04

LORAIN, Ohio — Some sponsors of the Lorain County Fair have dropped their sponsorship, with one citing concerns that revolve around COVID-19 and another rescinding its sponsorship over the permission of sales and display of the Confederate Flag.

Meijer confirmed to News 5 that it pulled its sponsorship over the sale of the Confederate Flag — a topic of discussion that has led to other fairs like the Wayne County Fair banning the sale of the flag and any memorabilia associated with it. The Medina County Fair did not ban the flag but reached an agreement with all vendors to not sell or display it.

“The confederate flag is inconsistent with our company values and our goal is to support events and organizations that build unity in the communities we serve,” said Frank Guglielmi, senior director of corporate communications at Meijer.

University Hospitals was also a sponsor who cited public safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“At University Hospitals, the safety and well-being of our patients, caregivers and communities are our top priorities,” said Kristi Sink, president of University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center. “We are likewise committed to preventive medicine and measures as a means of promoting optimal health, and this is especially true in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. For these reasons, we will not participate in this year’s fair and are removing our sponsorship for the event.”

For more than 40 years, Civil War memorabilia, including the confederate flag, has been sold at the Lorain County Fair, which continues to cause controversy.

Some argue confederate symbols and memorabilia mark a piece of American history while others say the flag is a racist, divisive symbol of dark times.

RELATED: Some Ohio lawmakers calling for the ban of confederate flag at county fairs