Uncovered History

MANSFIELD, IN - A controversial item at Mansfield Covered Bridge is making its way around social media because of the "disgust" it caused one visitor.

We learned, there's little oversight on the vendors. And it's up to the discretion of property owners to decide if an item should be displayed on their property.

One of our viewers first brought this social media post to our attention this morning. A picture that's being shared over 300 times on Facebook and reaching more than 500 comments, all centers around slave shackles being sold at $250.

"I was a little shocked, quite frankly," Celia Case said.

Celia Case's family owns property at the Bridgeton Covered Bridge, they rent out space to 70 vendors. And they have strict regulations on what their vendors can sell.

"We really try to focus on quality handmade vendors, only... We insist on high quality... We try to keep an eye on what our vendors are selling," Case said.

That's why case was surprised to see a Facebook post gone viral with such a controversial item in Mansfield just 15 minutes away.

You can see behind me countless numbers of vendors here at the Mansfield Covered Bridge, but there was one item that stood out to a visitor, what was supposed to be slave shackles for a young woman or child.

Which is a shock for people to hear, like Linda Wyrick, who comes to the festival every year.

"We're 150 years beyond, we should move on, we've been fighting this for 400 years," Wyrick said.

She says she's never seen anything in her time at Mansfield that offends her and she doesn't think the vendor should be allowed to sell the item.

"I don't think so, no."

Vendor of Lone Wolf Trading Post, Shane Neal does have historically controversial items on display at his tent in Mansfield.

"It's all history and if you try to erase history, you can't learn from it. You got to learn from your past and move forward," Neal said.

He says just because an item is on display doesn't mean he supports it, in fact the opposite, but he does have the freedom from his property owner to sell what he wants, as long as it's legal."

Sadie All reached out to the woman who wrote the post about the shackles, but was not able to connect with her today.   

Property owner Celia Case in Bridgeton says one year a confederate flag was up on the outskirts of the festival on private property that caused a lot of commotion. The man was asked to take it down and he did.


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