Frances McClary was not fazed by the raindrops as she awaited Wednesday's opening of the South Carolina State Fair.
The 61-year-old Greeleyville resident had never been to a state fair, but even less-than-ideal weather wasn't going to keep her away - or from claiming the first spot in line.
"I've just never had a chance to come before," McClary said. "I just said there is no time like now."
McClary ushered in a parade of several thousand faithful who braved the rain on the first day of the fair, which opened its gates at 3 p.m. It was the second straight year rain dampened the festivities on opening day.
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But McClary and scores more found reason to brush off the weather, including the $1 special admission, the promise of smaller crowds, or in many cases, the taste of their favorite fair food.
"We came for the animals - and the food," said McClary who came out with her friend Jimmy Huggins.
Across the fairgrounds, that kind of excitement was evident.
Four-year-old Sara Martin of Lugoff and her 4-year-old friend, Paige Watts of Elgin, seemed barely aware of the rain as they made their way to the kiddie section of the midway.
Sara's mother, Eric Martin, said the decision to come to the fair was easy. "She is so excited. So I figured let's just bring them."
But Martin and Paige's grandmother Sherley Suarez, admitted to a big motivation of their own - turkey legs.
"It (the rain) is not going to stop our fun," Suarez said.
Dustin Starling of Columbia was of the same mindset. Pressed about his reasons for enduring the rain (which lasted several hours, then changed to drizzle) he offered one - the food.
"I've been waiting on this all year," Starling said, as he enjoyed an elephant ear with his friend Brittni Kastner underneath the tents at the Netterfield Food Court.
Even the chilly outdoor air didn't stop Kastner from helping herself to an ice cold smoothie.
"I'm cold-blooded because I'm from Oregon," she said.
State Fair manager Gary Goodman is convinced that food, more than anything, brings patrons out during rainy weather. He said that while the lines were small when the gates opened, about 95 percent of visitors headed directly to a food stand.
"They are bound and determined that they are going to take care of that addition to their favorite fair food ... early on," Goodman said.
The short-term weather outlook at the fair is more promising in the coming days. A mix of rain and clouds is expected today before area forecasts call for a clearing pattern. The fair continues through Oct. 25.