State Fair Faring Well with Attendance

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – The South Carolina State Fair is on its way to setting a five-year record for attendance.

There are two major factors each year that determine whether attendance at the state fair will be in full swing or riding low. First is the weather. The second factor is the economy. Aside from the umbrellas dotting the fair Wednesday, attendance for the first week fared well. General Manager Gary Goodman says, “Our numbers this year are really about as good as we’ve had in over 5-6 years.”

Goodman says 70,000 more people attended the fair in the first week of 2010 compared with the first week of 2009. Goodman says 2010 is lagging slightly behind in attendance from 2007, which was a five-year record. He says, “We saw a lot of difference about the end of August in people’s attitudes and their spending habits, and it just seemed like people are loosening up a little bit right now and are coming out, having a good time.”

Kathy Brigham has been coming to the state fair since she moved to Columbia four years ago from the Washington, D.D. area. Brigham says, “They have huge fairs up there (in D.C.), as you might expect. This is very comparable.”

Money from ticket sales at the state fair goes to provide scholarships for 50 high school seniors a year. It was a different group of seniors from a church in Bowman Wednesday helping rake in dollars for the fair. Carmella Mack says, “We brought our senior citizens here to enjoy the fair.” Mack says they come for the food and fellowship. Brigham comes for the crafts and exhibits. And even senior citizens like to ride the rides. Mack says, “We are planning on going on the merry-go-round.”