Longtime employees among those who make the SC State Fair special

Updated: Oct. 10, 2019 at 10:46 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As we continue to enjoy the 150th year of the South Carolina State Fair, we are also hearing from those that have been a part of the big event for many years.

John Meigs and Frances Koon are part of what makes this event great and they make up the fabric of why an event like this continues to find success.

When you think fair, some might think food. Meigs and Koon both deal with food in different ways.

For half a century, Meigs and his family have sold cotton candy and candy apples. His family booth will soon have four generations working it.

"Parents actually lived here in Columbia for a few years in the late 40s early 50s. My brother was born down here and we've been doing the fair ever since," Meigs said.

Stepping inside the Ellison Building and the Agriculture Exhibit, you will find State Fair employee and Superintendent of the Agriculture Department Frances Koon. She has been at the fair for more than 40 years as well.

"Probably 1968, we used to bring produce to the fair," Koon said.

Koon began as a competitor, entering sweet potatoes and the home garden display, which she said she decided to retire after winning again and again.

“For 15 years, I did first prize so no one could beat me,” she said. “So, after 15 years, I said I might as well stop because nobody can beat me," Koon said.

Her journey has now taken her to be in charge of the entire exhibit.

"I think back, that little girl that used to come up and bring the potatoes and enter the garden and watch all the other people who were in charge and I said, ‘Wow’ and then 40 years later, look at me,’" Koon said.

Here is what they think makes the fair so special.

"People come every year and they look for me. They walk this building around until they find me because they come every year and they say, 'We just waiting to see you because we know you did something special.’ So, it's a journey that I love," Koon said.

“People love to eat. They come and enjoy all the great foods throughout the fair. We have excellent rides out here. They got the best in the country to come to the South Carolina State Fair. They have all the agricultural behind us and it all comes together,” Meigs said.

The South Carolina State Fair runs until October 20.

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