BLOOMSBURG, PA- The 161st annual Bloomsburg Fair was held Sep. 24th through Oct 1st. The fair is a popular event that brings in many different people from surrounding communities to enjoy food, games, vendors and more. Although, this year the fair sparked some controversy. Attention was quickly drawn Sunday to vendor Lawrence Betsinger when he displayed and tried to sell a Nazi flag.
Immediate attention was given to this once it was first posted on social media by a woman named Chloe Winters. Winters posted the picture on Facebook along with a long descriptive message:
“I was absolutely shocked and appalled, this flag represents the brutal and horrific genocide of innocent people. It stands for the hatred and destruction of a religion I feel blessed to be a part of.”
The post that Chloe had made was quickly shared and became the talk of the fair. Even after Facebook had tried to take down Chloe’s post, people were still not letting it go unnoticed.
The fair officials reported Monday that the flags had been removed from the stand after speaking with Lawrence. They also later kicked him out after learning that he is a registered sex offender.
This sparked even more controversy towards the Bloomsburg Fair.
“The fair is something that everyone looks forward to coming too, especially people who are Bloomsburg University students. I feel not only disrespected that someone would try to promote such hate but also feel unsafe knowing that the fair had someone working there as a registered sex offender. There are so many families and children that come to the fair to have a good time, not to be disrespected or feel any harm” Bloomsburg student Cory Commer states.
Bloomsburg Fair President sent out a statement regarding the incident indicating that they had no way of knowing the background of this vendor, because they have thousands of vendors attend and work at the fair.
This statement upset some people, including Emily Baker, a local resident and Bloomsburg University student:
“Living so close to Bloomsburg and having come to the fair practically since I can remember with my family, makes me upset at everything that has happened. Not only was it wrong to have that vendor there selling Nazi flags, or have him be a registered sex offender, it is wrong that the fair let that even occur. How can you let someone work at such a family oriented event and not know anything about them? It just does not seem right to me” Emily says.
The Bloomsburg Fair brings in so many people from so many different communities to enjoy themselves. This incident initiated some negativity towards the fair, but Bloomsburg Fair Officials will not let that stand in the way of this tradition continuing to bring in families and communities to enjoy themselves.
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