Return of Horry County Fair faces obstacles

Horry County officials and organizers of the planned return of the Horry County Fair at Myrtle Beach Speedway are working toward trying to hash out the fair’s permits and its proposed length by April 10, which is when the fair is scheduled to start.

The fair was announced earlier this week, but a quick retraction was sent out when special event permits from Horry County were not yet obtained.

Steve Zacharias, general manager at the Myrtle Beach Speedway and organizer of the fair, said plenty of work has been done behind the scenes since early 2014 and it wasn’t until the start of this year that he agreed to terms with Strates Amusement.

“Whatever happens, we’re going to have the fair,” Zacharias said. “Just hopefully we have it as planned.”

The fair, which hasn’t happened since 2009, is scheduled for April 10-19, 2015 at the speedway. However, the county only allows seven-day permits for special events, said Lisa Bourcier, spokeswoman for the county.

“By county ordinance we can only permit a special event for seven days and our staff is working with the speedway to get that accomplished,” Bourcier said.

Zacharias said the delay in finding the right amusement company pushed plans too close to the scheduled dates for the fair because the county requires a 40-day period between applying for the permit and the actual event.

He said he hopes the county will see that the fair is different than something like the motorcycle rallies, which also requires special events permits.

“We knew that Bike Week consists of a seven-day permit, but we did not know anything about how we’re trying to have a fair and that it would be affected by what Bike Week has caused,” Zacharias said. “We’re kind of just trying to work through all of the red tape right now. We’re also hopeful and we feel confident that we’ll get the 10 days.”

The fair will feature demonstrations, displays, vendors, free live music, a petting zoo, 4-H display, children’s educational activities and carnival rides at the speedway’s 48-acre property.

There is a Macho Mutt Monster Truck Ride planned, pace car ride-alongs for all ages as well as the NASCAR Racing Experience, which offers the authentic experience to drive or ride in a real NASCAR race car, according to a press release issued by the speedway.

Other events include the Don’s Car Crushing Demolition Derby on April 10, two nights of NASCAR Sanctioned Weekly Racing on April 11 and 18, the Wheels of Destruction Thrill Show on April 16 and the Battle of the Bands contest on April 17.

Zacharias said he will continue to make sure the fair goes off without a hitch.

“We’re trying to do something for the community,” he said. “We’re trying to do something for the locals.”