BUSY WEEKEND IN COLUMBIA: Gamecocks football fans and fairgoers arrive at state fairgrounds for big events
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Columbia will be a busy place this weekend.
With both a college football game and fair on Saturday, driving around that area of town could be difficult.
“It will be controlled chaos. That’s just the bottom line,” said Matt LaSchuma, South Carolina State Fair director of safety. “We’ll have 80,000 people going to a football game and the people coming to the fair.”
Fair parking on Saturday opens at 9 with admission to the grounds at 10. The South Carolina Gamecocks kick off at Williams-Brice Stadium next door at 7:30 in the evening.
“If someone is coming to the fair, I would advise them to come as early as possible,” said Tyler Tidwell of South Carolina Highway Patrol. “Several hours before kickoff of the game, traffic outbound will be closed and it will be one way inbound. That will allow more individuals to get to the stadium and fairgrounds.”
After the game, all traffic will be directed outbound which can cause some confusion for visitors.
“Getting out of the fair and football game will be time consuming Saturday,” Tidwell said.
With football fans and fairgoers in Columbia at the same time, the capital city will be a little busier than normal. Fair staff and law enforcement advise people to be patient while out on the roadways this weekend.
“Please be cautious of people walking in the parking lot,” said LaSchuma. “There will be people who are consuming alcohol.
“We want everyone to enjoy their time at the fair and football game,” Tidwell said. “We don’t want individuals to make the grave mistake of drinking and driving.”
Saturday you will not be able to drink or tailgate at the fairgrounds.
“No grill, tents or any major setup,” LaSchuma said. “Anything they would normally do at a football game, they can’t do here.”
LaSchuma says the fair sees large crowds on weekends that Columbia also hosts a football game.
“Come both days if you’d like,” said the fair’s safety director. “If you don’t want to deal with the traffic, come Sunday and have a good time. If you come here, just expect it.”
More information about the fair can be found here.