The South Carolina State Fair, which usually gives away blue ribbons, collected a few of its own during two recent entertainment trade association events.
The fair was honored in eight categories during the 23rd National Agri-Marketing Association ceremony in Suwannee, Ga., last month and during the International Association of Fairs & Expositions Convention in Las Vegas in December.
The honors included a first-place finish in Customer Events at the NAMA for fair’s Indie Grits 48-hour Film Blitz that debuted at this past year’s fair. The event featured several teams of filmmakers from across the state who were given 48 hours to write, shoot and edit movies imagined and produced entirely on the State Fairgrounds. The videos were streamed live during the fair.
“We thought that it would help our patrons see the fair through a new lens,” said State Fair manager Gary Goodman. “It was also a way to incorporate the new technology.”
The fair also claimed seven Hall of Honor Communications Awards at the IAFE Convention. Six of those awards were in the communications division, including a first-place finish for magazine advertising.
The fair claimed third-place honors in the Special or Specific Agricultural Educational Event category for its Field to Fair program. The program emphasizes the fair’s agricultural roots through a number of special exhibits, educational tools, games, competitions and other events.
“When we learned the 2013 SC State Fair/Indie Grits 48-hour Film Blitz took first place in the ‘Best of NAMA,’ we knew we we’re going to need a bigger trophy case,” Goodman said.
The NAMA has about 1,820 member organizations, and the IAFE has more than 1,100.
The recent awards come after another strong year for attendance at the fair. The most recent fair attracted 472,718 visitors, up about 20,000 from the previous year and just shy of the 492,395 record-setting attendance in 2010.
The fair has maintained an emphasis on attracting high-quality national musical acts while providing a wider showcase for local and regional talent. Events such as the Film Blitz are hoped to attract a wider range of fairgoers.
“We were thrilled with the success of our 2013 Fair,” Goodman said. “Attendance was great, we had more out-of-market visitors than ever, and I believe our bond with the Columbia community reached a new high. And now, to get these accolades and this kind of recognition from our industry peers, it’s just fantastic.”
This year’s fair runs Oct. 8-19 in Columbia.