By Chris Timmers
Nancy Smith, General Manager of the South Carolina State Fair, had been working as part of the fair for the past 35 years, the past two as GM. And this year has special significance to her and the roughly 500,000 attendees: 2019 is the fair’s 150th anniversary.
The fair has changed in many ways. Perhaps the most obvious has been its evolution from a largely agriculturally oriented event to one featuring rides, including the 150 foot event known as the Dutch Ferris wheel, entertainment venues, and demonstrations as diversified as blacksmithing and broom making.
“Less than two percent of our exhibits are agricultural,” said Smith. This year the fair has a circus for big top fans and a tent that can accommodate up to 1,300 spectators.
Included in the tent are a high wire act and racing motorcycles in a cage known as the “Globe of Death.”
Not known as well, but equally as important as any rides or thrills are the scholarships the Fair awards to hard-working high school students. The scholarships are given to 50 worthy young students and total around $5,000 per student. Since 1997, the Fair has awarded over $3 million in scholarships.
The Fair is opened until Oct. 20. Gates open daily between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Check out the exact time on any given date by going to scstatefair.org.