The Daily Gamecock

State Fair raised funds for flood relief

As the Boil Water Advisory lifted from Columbia, the South Carolina State Fair opened to the public. A longstanding tradition in South Carolina, the fair is the largest event in the state. Despite operating for 176 years, no one could have predicted floodwaters quite as treacherous as the ones from the fall.

“[The fair] is kind of another way for everybody to come together, meet new people, share your stories," Amber Grant, a WIS-TV staff member and former student ad manager for The Daily Gamecock, said. "This is kind of a light event after that disaster as well, I think we needed that.”

The State Fair conducted multiple fundraising efforts to contribute to the flood relief. Nancy Smith, assistant manager at the South Carolina State Fair, described the efforts the fair is conducting to provide funds for those in need after the flood.

“We do have a $5 parking charge, and the net proceeds from that are going to the flood relief efforts in the state," Smithsaid. "Newsboys is coming to the Grand Stand [and] will be giving back to the community through a donation to Harvest Hope.”

Our four-legged friends also seemed to be thriving despite the recent flood. Cows, chickens, goats, rabbits and a zebra, along with countless other animals, were present at the fair in 2015. Matt Oechsle, a 20-year-old from Ohio who primps cows for competitions, was a little worried about the flood. Despite a few delays and messes around the fairgrounds, he insisted that the animals are doing well.

Conquering the atrocity, the fair delivered as usual. All of the classic fair favorites were present, from cotton candy and corn dogs to candy apples and French fries. There were also a few new twists to classic favorites. Patrick Best, from Orme’s Deep Fried Treats, operated the only concession stand that serves unique fried food. Orme's sells fried candy bars, cookie dough and Oreos deep fried in red velvet cake batter.  Orme's made all their treats fresh, and are well-received by fair goers.

 “We decided to make our own red velvet batter and make our homemade cream cheese icing to go on top of it," Best said.

In addition to the food and animal entertainment, noteworthy events included a sold out performance by Shawn Mendes and performances by Thomas Rhett, Gladys Knight and Cole Swindell. Ernest Lee — Columbia’s own “chicken man” famous for his countless paintings of vibrant chickens — painted a mural in the Smallstock Barn for entertainment.

The State Fair seems like it could not have come at a better time for Columbia. After countless days of rain and floods, the fair was certainly a welcomed reprieve — lights and carefree fair trips were just what the city needed.

"Our hope and prayer is that it’ll be a bright spot for us and for everyone in the city of Columbia," Smith said.