state fair

The South Carolina State Fair's midway rides at night.
Nathan Harper [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The South  Carolina State Fair has rolled around every fall since 1869.  Begun on Columbia’s Elmwood Avenue as an agricultural exposition, historian Rodger Stroup and fair manager Gary Goodman say it has kept its agricultural and mechanical roots while expanding through the years at its present location on Rosewood Drive, where it moved in 1914. 

Farmer Bill Coburn directs his border collie Lucy to herd sheep using vocal and whistle commands.
Laura Hunsberger

At Windy Knolls Farm in Laurens County, Bill Coburn raises ducks and sheep. He’s retired from farming, but he still spends time on one of his favorite occupations: training border collies. The shaggy mid-sized dogs have a natural instinct to herd animals, and Coburn says he’s been working with them for nearly 30 years. He still shows his border collies regularly at demonstrations throughout the southeast, and at the State Fair, he will show the dogs in action for a few select afternoons. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has the story for this South Carolina Focus.

Narrative: Gary Goodman on 33 Years with the State Fair

Oct 10, 2017
Gary Goodman, South Carolina State Fair General Manager, in his office in Columbia, SC (2017).
Laura Hunsberger

This edition of Narrative features an interview with Gary Goodman, General Manager of the South Carolina State Fair. After more than three decades, Goodman is retiring this year. I spoke with him about his memories of his early years on the job and his first fair as general manager in 1986.

An advertisement for the fair appears in the Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), October 18, 1905.
South Carolina Digital Newspaper Room/

Dr. Rodger Stroup, retired Director of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, is taking a deep dive into the history of the South Carolina State Fair, doing research for an upcoming book on the subject. Stroup talks with Walter Edgar about the history of South Carolina’s fair—which goes back farther than you think—in context with other states’ fairs.

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File: Fair Ride
Susanna Berggren

  One of the fall traditions in South Carolina is a visit to the South Carolina State Fair. Part of the tradition for many is eating food that we don’t normally eat. Today we talk with vendors of such delectable – and sometimes weird – foods as elephant ears, chicken with Frosted Flakes, deep fried candy and doughnut burgers, and find out why the South Carolina State Fair is one of their favorite fairs.