After a rough week following Hurricane Matthew, South Carolinians seem ready for fun.
At least that’s what the lines seemed to indicate Wednesday, as people streamed in at noon for the start of the 147th State Fair.
With 12 days of fair fun ahead – including several new foods, three new rides and other activities – many visitors on the first day sought our their favorite traditions.
Tatianna Harmon, a student at Midlands Technical College, went for her favorite first stop – the food – snapping up some vinegar fries, along with powdered-sugar-topped donuts.
Jill Hunt, who traveled from Lake City for opening day, came for the food but was tempted by some of the other attractions, too. “I’m here for the candy apples and the animals. I’m also looking forward to the ‘sundae specials,’ and I’m interested in the Cracker Jack caramel sundae,” she said, noting some of the new foods this year.
Jaime Smith was starting a new tradition for his family, bringing his double-stroller-bound newborns for their first experience at the fair. “I’m a sucker for the Elephant Ears,” Smith said. “It’s a whole experience.”
The fall-like weather and sunny skies seemed to be just what fairgoers were looking for Wednesday.
“Last year we came off of the flood and this year we came after the hurricane and we are ready to bring a tradition of 12 days of fun,” said Nancy Smith, the fair’s assistant general manager. “Our average annual attendance is around 500,000 so we’re always hoping to be right around there. And the weather forecast is very good.
“We’re off to a good start.”
If you go
ADMISSION: $10; $7 for seniors 55 and older; free for retired, active military and dependents with current IDs as well as children 5 and under (with paying adult).
PARKING: $5 (cash)
YOUTH ENTRANCE POLICY: All youths under 18 are required to be accompanied by a parent 21 or older to be admitted to the fair after 6 p.m. Anyone 18 or older may be asked to show a valid driver’s license for proof of age to be admitted without a parent after 6 p.m.
FOLLOW US: Dwaun Sellers will be sampling the best of the State Fair – @gocolumbiasc