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Columbia Business Monthly

S.C. State Fair Finishes 2017 Run on Strong Note

Oct 23, 2017 08:06AM ● By Emily Stevenson

The 2017 South Carolina State Fair closed the gates on the 148th anniversary fair Sunday night after welcoming 427,466 guests during the 12-day run.

“We had a great run,” said State Fair manager, Gary Goodman, who is retiring this year after 33 years in that role.

Goodman said this year’s attendance took an early hit because of extremely hot weather the first several days, noting those numbers improved once cooler temperatures moved in the first weekend. The second Saturday of the fair drew 61,484 guests, marking the highest attendance ever for a second Saturday.

“We appreciate everyone coming out,” Goodman said. “The most important thing is there were no serious injuries, which is always the mark of a solid fair.”

This year’s State Fair presented a wide range of new attractions including Heritage Village, Folkfabulous and Blend along with a long list of stage and roving shows. The fair also offered its pay-one-price promotion all 12 days for the second straight year.

“Our goal is always to include a fresh mix of new attractions, while bringing back many of our traditional favorites that our patrons have come to love and expect through the years,” said State Fair assistant manager, Nancy Smith. “And we feel they were well received.”

In honor of Goodman’s retirement and his 33 years as general manager, North American Midway Entertainment donated $10,000 to the fair’s Ride of Your Life Scholarship fund.

“We know how important education is to Gary and the fair board,” said North American Midway chairman, Jeff Blomsness. “Because we have been here so long, we had a good idea of what the No. 1 goal is of the fair, so we picked that, and it made us very happy to do it.”

Goodman said he was gratified by North American Midway Entertainment’s donation but not surprised. “Our carnival partner knows how important our scholarship program is to the fair,” Goodman said. “I think that was a way for them to show concern for our future children’s education.” 

Smith, who will become the fair’s general manager in January, said she hopes to continue modeling Goodman’s legacy of excellency in producing a fair the state can be proud of each year. “We look forward to building more relationships and continuing to foster efforts to improve our community in the coming years,” she said.

The 2018 S.C. State Fair will run Oct. 10-21 in Columbia.