St. George rally draws supporters, opponents of ‘Dixie’ nickname

St. George • Residents of a Utah city that has adopted a nickname with ties to the Confederacy held a rally Thursday to support the name.

A crowd of several hundred people gathered in St. George, with most defending the use of “Dixie” as the community’s unofficial second name, The Spectrum reports.

The city in Utah's southwest corner has a street called Dixie Drive and is home to Dixie State University, Dixie Technical College and Dixie Regional Medical Center.

Protests and a movement to rename and remove monuments nationwide have cast a spotlight on lingering connections to the Confederacy in some parts of the country.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike spoke at the gathering outside St. George city hall, saying there were no plans to make changes or remove the “Dixie” scrawled in white across the prominent “Sugarloaf” rock among the city’s red cliffs.

“The city is really going to have little to do with renaming anything,” Pike said.

The crowd included supporters and opponents of the Dixie moniker. Some carried signs calling for Pike’s ouster, while others said he had not sufficiently defended the name.

The city does not have direct influence over renaming properties such as the medical center, university or businesses that make decisions about their names, Pike said.

The Washington County/St. George Interlocal Agency changed the name of the Dixie Convention Center to Greater Zion Convention Center last month, only to change it back for at least six months following community backlash.