Arts & Heritage festival vendor 'snuck in,' displayed Nazi flags

“They basically snuck in,” Shawley said. “They did not sign up with us.”

By JOCELYN BRUMBAUGH/THE TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT/TNS
September 25, 2019 07:59
2 minute read.
Nazi Swastika

Nazi Swastika. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A group displaying Nazi flags in a booth at the Cambria County Arts & Heritage festival over the weekend was not approved by the Laurel Highlands Historical Village and eventually asked to leave the event at Duman Lake County Park.

Ron Shawley, executive director of Laurel Highlands Historical Village, said an individual initially set up a booth displaying World War II knives on Sunday and eventually hung flags with swastikas on them.

The individual was there for about 90 minutes before he was asked to take the flags down and leave the park, Shawley said.

“They basically snuck in,” Shawley said. “They did not sign up with us.”

Shawley said the individual was not selling any items and never completed an application to be a vendor at the event.

Photos of the booth were posted on social media, along with comments from those who saw the flags and confronted organizers of the event to have them taken down.

On the Facebook page for the Unity Coalition of the Southern Alleghenies, one woman said she pressed event organizers to ask the individual with the booth to leave.

Rachel Allen, co-chair of the Unity Coalition, said the group was formed in response to white supremacy groups in the area.

In response to arguments that people have constitutional rights to display those types of flags, Allen said that position is void if the displayed item has a history rooted in violence or genocide and denies other people humanity or safety.

“That symbol alone has been used to extinguish millions of people,” Allen said of the swastika flags displayed at the festival. “It has no place in heritage.”

Cambria County owns Duman Lake Park and leased the space to Laurel Highlands Historical Village for the event.

County Solicitor Bill Barbin said county officials legally cannot censor the content of those who lease the park.

“We are upset, just like everyone else was,” said Shawley, who said he also notified state police about the situation.

“Overall, the weekend was a great success,” that kicked off with a showcase for veterans, Shawley said.

Jocelyn Brumbaugh is a reporter for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @JBrumbaughTD.

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