As someone who goes barefoot 24/7, and who has attended the N.C. Mountain State Fair barefoot for many years, I was shocked a few days ago to find several very large signs with big red letters at the gates stating, "Shirt and shoes required."
The next day I contacted the fair manager, Matt Buchanan, to ask what was going on. He called me later and left a phone message in which he stated (his exact words), "Actually, the reason we put those signs there, I had many concerned parents after the demonstration that we had in Asheville a couple of weeks ago with the women going shirtless, and we do consider this a family event, and we had people concerned about that."
I find this justification so ridiculous it's almost laughable. First, the "demonstration" he spoke about was a one-time thing that took place simultaneously with similar rallies in 11 other cities around the country. The chances of something similar taking place around here again in the foreseeable future are practically zero.
Second, if their concern is fear of women taking their tops off at the fair, why doesn't the sign read, "Women required to keep their tops on at all times"? Or simply, "Shirts required." What do shoes have to do with it? Wearing shoes or not wearing shoes has absolutely nothing to do with wearing or not wearing a shirt or top. And wearing shoes has never been a rule or an issue at the fair before.
And third, do they really think that if another topless demonstration were to be organized around here and if they decided to do it at the fair, the mere presence of a sign would stop them? Not likely.
This is a case of total overkill. The fair management has let a few misinformed parents with very irrational fears cause them to make a very irrational decision. They've not only taken away the rights and freedom of choice of innocent fairgoers who have absolutely nothing to do with topless women, the new signs are of no practical value anyway for the perceived "problem."
— Kriss Sands