SC State Fair returns to Columbia with exciting first day

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — The South Carolina State Fair is back in Columbia and closer to being back to normal.

After last year’s drive-thru event, people are now allowed back in person with the gates opening at noon earlier Wednesday.

Rides began around 4 on Wednesday afternoon and Charlotte-based country band, Diamonds and Whiskey, took the stage, so the hard work by the staff to get all the fair safe and ready looks to have paid off.

“We only have 12 days to make it or break it. When those gates open and those folks come in, you have this feeling you can’t explain unless you’ve been here all year long getting ready for it,” said Nancy Smith, general manager of the South Carolina State Fair.

People have been waiting for a long time to enjoy some of their favorite fair fun.

“Everyone’s looking for their fist fries, Pronto Pups, Bailey’s corn dogs and things like that but it just wouldn’t be the fair without the swifty swine racing pigs,” Smith said.

It seems like everyone we spoke to today had a different favorite thing about the state fair, but all agreed they are glad it’s back.

“I had some ice cream and a slice of pizza. It’s fair food but it’s once a year thing,” said Ray Hoshaw, a South Carolina resident who moved recently moved from Wisconsin.

“I’m excited because I can walk around, eat, get on rides and enjoy myself,” said Columbia resident Sidney Bell.

“I like everything. It’s a good place for kids,” said Angela Hoshaw, Ray’s wife who also recently moved from Wisconsin.

They hope to bring their grandkids next year.

Angela and Ray are just glad for the warm weather.

“The weather in Wisconsin would be about 40 degrees right now,” Ray said. “I’m glad I can wear shorts and a T-shirt. That’s great.”

They frequented fairs in Wisconsin and enjoyed their first in South Carolina.

Some in Columbia even plan to come back before it ends.

“Getting on the rides. I’m getting on everything here when I come back over the weekend,” Bell said.

The fair is a much needed escape from the pandemic after a tough year and a half.

“Now we’re able to get out and see people enjoying themselves,” Ray Hoshaw said. “I think it’s wonderful that they have a full fair this year.”

With new food vendors, new rides and some of the old favorites, the fair staff promises there’s something for everyone.

“When I think of the fair, I think not only of tradition but also family and friends,” Smith said. “We always say that we have something for the youngest baby to the oldest grandparent. If we don’t, we’re not doing our job here.”

The fair is open until 9 o’clock Wednesday night and runs until Sunday, October 24th.

You can also go on the fair’s website to learn more about the fun you can expect when you come as well as covid protocols.

Categories: Local News, Richland