There's a new name for the fairgrounds in Winston-Salem, and the change comes with some controversy.

Locals have called it the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds for years. It's owned by the city, which only uses the phrase "Dixie Classic" to refer to the annual fall fair. The fairgrounds are adjacent to the Joel Coliseum. The coliseum is no longer city property. City manager Lee Garrity explains why a name change was needed.

"The name of the complex prior to the sale of the coliseum has been for the last seven years the Winston-Salem Entertainment and Sports Complex," he said. "With the sale of the coliseum (to Wake Forest University) we needed to rebrand the remaining complex."

The change did spark some controversy. An online petition has been started to protest the name change. Garrity says he's also gotten emails saying that the name change is an insult to the city's Southern heritage. Garrity points out that the name of the fair itself won't be changing.

"It is the Dixie Classic Fair, and that is not changing," he said. "That's a brand name that is recognized as a top 50 fair across the country and we're not changing that.”

In addition to a new name, there's also a new Web site for fairground events, Garrity says the city-owned property – including the fairgrounds, annex, and other buildings - hosts more than 200 events a year in addition to the Dixie Classic Fair.


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