Oct. 9-20, 2024


46 Reasons to Celebrate South Carolina

Written By: Abby Milkes and Emmitt Murray.

The South Carolina 2024 State Fair theme will highlight every county in South Carolina.


The South Carolina State Fair’s 2024 theme, “46 Reasons to Celebrate South Carolina,” will showcase all that is special about each county in the state during this year’s annual fair, which runs Oct. 9-20.

This year’s theme, highlighting the vitality and history of each county, is designed to make the fair even more attractive to visitors across the entire state.

“The South Carolina State Fair is excited to offer each county an opportunity to showcase what makes them shine. By doing so, we are hopeful this will be an incentive to bring more visitors from around the state to our great fair,” said the South Carolina State Fair general manager, Nancy Smith.

Kathy Allen, the fair’s director of marketing and human resources, explained that the theme was designed to provide more inclusivity statewide.

“They (Smith, and fair board of directors) thought “46 Reasons to Celebrate South Carolina” would be a fabulous theme for us because then we can easily involve the whole state in the celebration,” Allen said.

According to a survey conducted on the fairgrounds, about 70% of fair attendees come from within a 50–75-mile radius of Columbia. By extending a greater reach to all 46 counties, the goal is to expand the demographic to greater areas of the state.

Typically, the fair theme is decided after many brainstorming sessions and meetings. However, this year’s theme was inspired by the Tennessee State Fair/Wilson County Fair, which had a similar theme. 

In keeping with the theme, each county will have its own display and banner that will be displayed in the Ruff Building. The fair has hired a project coordinator, Lauren Sherr, to handle many of the aspects of the banners, county theme, and exhibit area.

“My vision for it (the exhibit area) is that it feels like walking into a beautiful South Carolina day. Then you can take a tour of the state without having to leave the building,” Sherr said.

Sherr plans to make each county’s exhibit feel like you are walking into the home of a lifetime resident of that county.

“What is on their shelves? What are their little knickknacks? What are some things in the cupboards that are relevant to that county? It is not all about tourism, but capturing what truly makes each county special,” Sherr explained.

The exhibits will also feature fun facts to learn more about the counties and hand-painted murals done by Sherr to illuminate various aspects of each county. There will also be a large interactive map of South Carolina displaying the counties. Visitors can use a sticker or push pin to represent what county they are from.

Additionally, South Carolina elementary school students will take center stage in the Ruff building to perform a special county song.  This statewide tradition features a catchy melody listing all 46 counties of the Palmetto State in alphabetical order.

Other additions to this year’s fair will be a “South Carolina Grown Marketplace” in the Rosewood’s building, where the fair will showcase products that are made and/or grown in the state. The South Carolina State Fair hopes to see it return year after year!

To get all the counties involved, the fair has secured the assistance of Mary-Kathryn Craft, communications director for the South Carolina Association of Counties, whose job has been to find a point of contact for each county throughout the state and connect them with the fair.

“My goal is to get all 46 counties involved and make sure they get their moment in the sun because it’s all about the counties,” Craft said.

Ultimately, fair officials want to assure that they were able to not only highlight and bring out the best in every county but also to attract more families from around the state that typically would not have come.

“I look forward to folks from each county coming to the SC State Fair this year to see their exhibits and discover some of their county-grown products. This year’s theme is a good vehicle to attract first-time fair attendees from all across the state. They can come and see what makes South Carolina a great state.”


If a reader has a contribution for the county display or South Carolina Grown Marketplace, please email LaurenS@scstatefair.org.





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