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SC State Fair sets a record, despite first-ever hurricane closure

A look at SC State Fair on 2018 opening day

Sights and sounds from opening day of the South Carolina State Fair Wednesday Oct. 10, 2018, in Columbia, SC.
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Sights and sounds from opening day of the South Carolina State Fair Wednesday Oct. 10, 2018, in Columbia, SC.

Despite closing down for a day because of Hurricane Michael, this year’s S.C. State Fair welcomed some 16,000 more people than last year’s fair, organizers said Monday.

The fair, which ended its run Sunday, saw an attendance of 443,712 guests during its 12-day run, according to a release. That’s an increase of more than 16,200 from the 2017 fair.

Organizers were pleased with the turnout, considering that the fair closed one day as Tropical Storm Michael barreled through the Carolinas — the first time in recorded history that the fair closed.

“We are so grateful to the faithful patrons who came out and helped us experience one of our strongest fairs in recent years,” general manager Nancy Smith said. “We appreciate everyone’s support. This was a safe fair with few incidents, which is always the mark of a solid run.”

The 2017 fair saw a drop in attendance from 2016, which had 464,878 visitors that year, The State reported previously. Those figures increased from the 2015 fair, which followed the historic flooding that inundated parts of Columbia.

This year’s fair featured eight musical acts, including an Oct. 16 performance by “American Idol” winner Fantasia, which sold out.

Next year’s fair will run Oct. 9-20 and will mark the fair’s 150th anniversary. Organizers say it will feature several special offerings, including a published history of the fair and a display of fair memorabilia from throughout the years.

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