Deputies Escort Leslie Kauffman Off Grounds
WALTON – A former rabbit barn superintendent of the Delaware County Fair was escorted off premises by deputies and barred from ever returning for taking photographs of merchandise bearing the Confederate flag, according to a press release issued today by Fair for All, the group protesting Stars & Bars at the week-long event.
Leslie Kauffman, a co-founder of the group Fair for All, which has been campaigning to end the sale of the flag at the fair, attended the fair on Tuesday with her two children and, while there, took photographs of Confederate flag merchandise available for sale.
Fair Board president Ed Rossley requested that Kauffman delete the photographs and, when she declined to do so, had her escorted and banned from the fairgrounds by an officer from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department, according to the press release.
“It’s awful that the Fair Board would kick out a 4-H mom and longtime volunteer for taking pictures of the hateful items being sold,” said Fair for All co-founder Christina Hunt Wood. “The board is prioritizing vendors with Confederate flags over their own community members, and are apparently trying to insulate themselves from public scrutiny by banning photography at those sites.”
“The fairgrounds are a de facto public space, and the Fair Board has absolutely no grounds for barring the public from photographing the items on sale there,” said Kauffman, who has retained legal counsel and is exploring legal remedies.
The New York State Fair and many county fairs across the state do not allow Confederate flag sales, but in 2015 the board of the Delaware County Fair defended the flag after Kauffman requested they stop selling it, with one fair director saying, “The more of them, the better.” After a Sunday press conference with the theme “Hate Spoils the Fun,” supporters of Fair for All were first blocked from the fairgrounds and then threatened with arrest when they delivered to the Fair’s board of directors a letter signed by nearly 600 fairgoers renewing the request to end sales of the racist symbol.
Kauffman spoke at the press conference of her long association with the Delaware County Fair, going back to 2000. She served as the leader of a local 4-H club for five years and as superintendent of the Delaware County Fair rabbit barn for three years, until resigning this year in response to the controversy.