It's Business As Usual At Cheshire Fair Despite Protest Over 'Black Flies Matter' T-Shirts | New Hampshire Public Radio

It's Business As Usual At Cheshire Fair Despite Protest Over 'Black Flies Matter' T-Shirts

Aug 1, 2018

A photo of t-shirts being sold at the Cheshire Fair, shared on the Black Lives Matter NH Facebook page, went viral last summer

Organizers of the Cheshire Fair in Swanzey have opted not to change vendor policies this year despite earlier outcry over racially charged merchandise.

Photos of a confederate flag and “black flies matter” t-shirts at a booth last summer spread quickly on social media.

At the time, fair officials said they’d consider action to prevent a similar situation in the future. But they have since decided against any policy change, said Laurie Burt, president of the fair association.

She pushed back against arguments that the t-shirts are offensive and threatening. Instead, she said, they can be read at face value, that black flies are not something to ignore. “Believe me, black flies are nasty,” she said.

Most complaints the fair received last summer came from non-fairgoers, she said. She believes placing further limits on vendors would compromise their freedom of speech.

The fair opens Thursday and runs through Sunday.