State Fair attendance rises

brantin@thesate.comOctober 21, 2013 

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

Attendance was up a bit at this year at the 2013 South Carolina State Fair.

The fair ended its 12-day run Sunday with 472,718 visitors. That was about 20,000 above the previous year’s numbers and just shy of the 492,395 record-setting attendance in 2010.

“We were just a handful of admissions short of having our best opening day ever,” said state fair manager, Gary Goodman. “Then, our first-ever College Day set a new second-day attendance record so the fair was off to a good start.”

The fair instituted new youth admission guidelines midway through this year’s fair, following a shooting in Five Point last weekend and some reported small fights on the fairgrounds the first Saturday evening. The new policy raised the admission age without a parent to 18 after 7 p.m. each day.

“It was a tough decision that may have reduced attendance, especially on the weekend, but it had to be done,” Goodman said. “The safety of our guests is always our number one priority.”

Goodman pointed to Columbia’s “sense of community” as a big factor in the fair’s success this year.

The 2014 State Fair will run Oct. 8-19.

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