City News

Fairgrounds - April 24, 2019

At the request of Mayor Allen Joines and City Council, the Public Assembly Facilities Commission and Fair Planning Committee are inviting members of the public to submit their ideas on a new name for the Dixie Classic Fair, to take effect in 2020. Suggestions can be submitted through an online survey, through the city’s citizen feedback telephone line, or at a public hearing to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, in the Neil Bolton Home & Garden Building on the fairgrounds.

The survey is posted through June 3 at surveymonkey.com/r/DCFNameInput. Links to the survey are also posted at DCFair.com, at WSFairgrounds.com and at CityofWS.org. Also through June 3, suggestions can be called in to the city’s citizen feedback line at 336-734-1400.

Those who present their suggestions in person at the public hearing will have one minute each to speak.

Members of the public should keep in mind the five key principles that guide the fair:

  • Regional Reach - the reach of the fair extends outside of the Triad to all of Northwest North Carolina and up into southern Virginia. 
  • Agriculture - the fair is an opportunity to exhibit, teach and learn all aspects of agriculture in our region, including plants, fruits, vegetables and livestock.  
  • Educate - the fair is an opportunity for all members of the community and region to participate in all aspects of learning and creation from all walks of life. Showcases include quilting, baking, canning, photography, horticulture, livestock, etc.
  • Family Atmosphere - the fair makes it a priority to include safe, fun and affordable options for all ages and family sizes.
  • Entertainment - new and constant changing entertainment is an important aspect of attracting new and returning individuals and families interested in attending the fair. 

The Public Assembly Facilities Commission and the Fair Planning Committee will review the suggestions and make a recommendation to the City Council, which will have the final say in renaming the fair. If the council votes to change the name, it would take effect with the 2020 fair.

The council is considering a name change after a number of citizens noted that the current name is offensive because it is evocative of the Civil War and the Confederacy.

The fair's current name -- The Dixie Classic Fair of Northwest North Carolina -- dates to 1956, when it was adopted following the consolidation of the Dixie Classic Livestock Exhibition and the Winston-Salem Fair into a single event. At the time, the livestock exposition drew from throughout North Carolina as well as Virginia and West Virginia, and the fair organizers wanted a name that would reflect the fair's broad regional reach.

Over its history the fair has been known by 11 names in total, starting in 1882 when the Wheat Fair was held in Salem. Not counting the current name, which has been in use for 63 years, the previous longest duration of a name for the fair was the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Fair, which was used for 42 years from 1908 to 1950. Other names for the fair over the years include the Winston-Salem Fair; the Winston Tobacco Fair; the Forsyth County Fair; and the Winston-Salem Horse Show, Carnival and County Fair.

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