While many county fairs across New York State are already in the books, including in Broome and Tioga Counties, administrators of the Great New York State Fair have sent letters to the 52 regional exhibitions urging them to discourage the displaying or selling of wares that could offend.

Last year, controversy arose at the Delaware County Fair surrounding a vendor selling items emblazoned with Confederate symbols, including Confederate flags.

The letters from the State Department of Agriculture and Markets do not specifically mention Confederate items but were mailed days after Fair-For-All, based in Delaware County, called for county fairs to ban sales or displays of Confederate flags. The group says the Civil War-branded items are a symbol of slavery, hate and racism.

Ag. and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball asks county fair operators to discourage "selling or displaying items that run counter to our Great State's long history of inclusion for all."

Vendors at the New York State Fair are voluntarily refraining from the sale of Confederate-related items at the fair in Syracuse that begins August 23.

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