Oct. 24 – Sugar apples, carousels, farm implements, exotic livestock, corn dogs and at least one centenary tree are part of the package on Royal Drive in May with the Western Carolina State Fair in action for the next few days after falling due to COVID -19 Precautions has recovered from the 2020 cancellation.

New attractions on May Royal Drive near US 1 include a largely practical exhibit from Eudora Farms in the Salley area. “This is the first time we’ve been here in over 20 years,” said Gregory Steadman. “We have our drive-through safari which is … about 30 miles from here, so it’s really good to be in our area.”

Elbow space is abundant. “We actually got a bigger tent this year so there is a lot more space for the animals and more shade for the people, and we can accommodate a lot more people, but also safely so they don’t get overcrowded,” added Steadman .

“We always turn our animals, of course, so we have some … who have never been here, but some have.” The guest list includes coatis (“South American versions of raccoons”), parakeets, ring-tailed lemurs, wallabies, and more well-known Eudora-goers such as camels and “large cattle”.

Among other things, exotic plants can be seen, such as the “100 year old” bonsai tree by Scott Hallman, who is now wearing a “Best in Show” band at the fair. The tree is “pretty easy to care for,” he said. “I cut it about once a year.”

Some fair visitors had to return to the parking lot when they discovered new regulations this year. A “clear bag” policy applies, and metal detectors are part of the scene that anyone entering the exhibition center must navigate.

“Several detectors ensure that admission is not unnecessarily delayed, and special provisions are made for wheelchairs and strollers. All parcels, bags, purses, briefcases and people will be searched before admission to the fair. ”The fair website.

The story goes on

It also said: “Certain items are now banned at the Western Carolina State Fair, including backpacks, fireworks, selfie sticks, pets (excluding service animals), clothing or jewelry that is considered offensive or gang-related, drones on property, and guns Firearms, ammunition, knives of all kinds and pepper spray. Hidden weapons are also not allowed. “

Bridgestone and Blanchard Equipment – a local John Deere supplier – are among the main sponsors of this year’s celebrations.

Much of the entertainment is provided by Reithoffer Shows based in Gibsonton, Florida. The history of the fair goes back to the late 1960s and has its roots in the Aiken Jaycees.

Local Jaycees, in their search for a project to support local charities, decided to take steps to hold a county festival in 1968, as reported in a November 2019 Aiken Standard article. It found that personalities such as Irvin Deggeller, James Gregory, Vernon Spane, William Sibley and Alan Gregory pooled their talents and the ultimate result was the Western Carolina State Fair, which moved to its current location in the fall of 1973.

The original location was a golf driving range near Whiskey Road, which is now occupied by Aiken Motorcycle Sales and Service.

This year the gates are open at 12 noon on weekends and at 5 p.m. on weekdays. The fair runs until October 31. The leaders of the 2021 initiative include Kevin Lucas, Tony Rickard, Randy Eblen, Warren Lucas, Mike Fanning Dianne Phillips, Tommy Molony, Joey Patsourakos and Amanda Dennis.