149th South Carolina State Fair kicks off Wednesday, impacts of Michael expected Thursday

SC State Fair officials monitoring weather forecast

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina State Fair will enter its 149th year on Wednesday when gates open to the public at noon.

“We are very excited to offer several new things this year,” Nancy Smith, the General Manager of the state fair, said. “We’ll have some new food options, we’re bringing chainsaw carving back, we have a new dinosaur exhibit and our 75-ton sand sculpture is always a favorite.”

On Tuesday, crews spent much of the day putting the final touches on 65 rides and hundreds of food tents. However, Smith said with the forecast for the Midlands calling for high winds and heavy rainfall, crews are also taking precautionary measures.

“We are watching the weather forecast on an hour by hour basis,” Smith said. “Patron safety is our number one priority so we are ready to make any necessary decisions to keep people safe.”

Smith said she hopes to arrive at a decision regarding the fair’s operation on Thursday within the next 24 hours. She did not know if the fair would be shut down altogether, open with restricted hours or open but in the absence of rides running.

"We are focusing on making sure everything is secured like signs, flags and other things that could get blown away,” she said.

Smith also said all 65 rides will remain standing despite the storm, meaning crews will not take them down.

Tuesday marks the final day the public can purchase discounted tickets. On Wednesday, all general admission tickets will be $1 at the gate to celebrate the fair’s opening.

With high winds expected in the Midlands on Thursday, SCE&G is urging customers to alert them if they spot a downed tree or powerline in their neighborhood.

SCE&G customers can call 1-888-333-4465 to report downed or sparking lines. Customers can also send the utility a text message to alert them of outages. To do so, you must first register your phone within your online SCE&G profile. Once registered text “out” to 467234 to report an outage or text “status” to 467234.

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