UPDATE, 8:11 a.m. Oct. 11, 2018: SC State Fair officials announced Wednesday afternoon the fair would be closed on Thursday, Oct. 11 and resume operations on Friday. The Scotty McCreery concert is postponed to Oct. 18.
Another hurricane is on track to possibly impact South Carolina as early as Wednesday night. Nonetheless, the S.C. State Fair will open at noon Wednesday, spokesman Bertram Rantin said.
Beyond Wednesday, however, it is unclear how the fair’s schedule will be affected.
“We are going to make plans day to day,” Rantin said, “given the fluid nature of weather.”
Fair rides are operated by North American Midway Entertainment, an Indiana company that has its own protocols about what weather conditions are safe for rides to operate. Scooter Korek, vice president of client services, said based on Tuesday’s forecast, some rides would likely be closed at some point on Thursday.
The ride operators will make decisions as they monitor the storm’s progress.
During hurricanes, wind and rain can cause different rides to close and each ride has its specific protocol, Korek said. Some are safe to ride in up to 40 mph winds, while others are shut down in lighter wind. When it rains, slides and rides that require braking systems, such as ferris wheels, are closed. Some other ground rides may also close depending on how much rain the area receives.
North American Midway has safety personnel on site at the fairgrounds, Korek said, including people trained in how to handle operations under different weather circumstances.
However, even if rides are shut down, fairground food vendors and other attractions will remain open, weather permitting. The fair will not shut down if weather conditions are just rainy — that happens every year, Rantin said.
Visitors should take their families’ safety into consideration and make the best decision for themselves.
“The state fair is certainly not going to do anything that would put people in jeopardy,” he said.
“Our No. 1 priority remains safety, and any decisions about scheduling will be determined by what is in the best interest of our patrons,” State Fair manager Nancy Smith said in a statement. “But right now, we are looking forward to our Wednesday opening.”
Tickets are valid for all 12 days of the fair, with the exception of ticketed music performances on the main stages. Decisions about cancellations and refunds will be announced when necessary, on scstatefair.org and on the fair’s social media accounts.