An expanded ride promotion, record football Saturday attendance and ideal weather lead to a banner year for the 147th South Carolina State Fair, which welcomed 464,878 visitors before the gates closed for the year Sunday night.
The 2016 attendance figures marked an increase of 34,931 over last year’s fair, which followed the historic floods.
“We were thrilled to see so many returning faces and lots of news ones and we couldn’t be happier with this year’s results,” said general manager Gary Goodman. “It was clear that folks were looking for a good time and were eager to rebound after last year’s challenges.”
Goodman credits the increase in large part to the expansion of the fair’s pay-one-price promotion to all 12 days this year. Previously that promotion has only been offered on weekdays.
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“I think the pay-one-price days had a significant influence,” Goodman said, noting many families are only able to come to the fair on weekends.
The 2016 fair fell short of an overall attendance record, but set two individual records for one day. The second Saturday of the fair drew 60,887 guests, the highest for a second Saturday ever. Additionally, it was the fair’s highest second Saturday attendance on the same day as a South Carolina home football game, when fair attendance generally falls.
“That was an anomaly,” Goodman said regarding Saturday’s attendance.
Football fans were granted free admission to the fair with their game tickets before kickoff.
“When the game was over, the fans from the game just kept coming,” Goodman said.