The South Carolina State Fair has rolled around every fall since 1869. Begun on Columbia’s Elmwood Avenue as an agricultural exposition, historian Rodger Stroup and fair manager Gary Goodman say it has kept its agricultural and mechanical roots while expanding through the years at its present location on Rosewood Drive, where it moved in 1914.
Stroup is writing a history of the fair, to be published in 2019, its sesquicentennial year. He has discovered many little-known facts in his research, including the fact that Rosewood Drive itself, now a major traffic artery, was built in the 1920s to bring traffic from the Pee Dee and Sumter side of town around the city and directly to the fairgrounds to avoid snarling traffic downtown. Goodman said the fair appeals to everyone’s child heart, and it’s a valued tradition with many South Carolina families.