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By now we are used to events being canceled due to COVID-19 but there’s a big one that fall just doesn’t seem right
without and that’s the Orangeburg County Fair. Here is some interesting information about the fair from our archives.

County Fair’s roots go back to 1871

The days of the horse and buggy may be go ne, but some things remain
the same. While the original focus was to celebrate local agriculture, the
Orangeburg County Fair remains a traditional social event that draws the
community together.
One of the oldest continuously running fairs in South Carolina, the
Orangeburg County Fair actually had its beginnings in 1871. The county
Agricultural Society sponsored the event, which was held near the present
intersection of Amelia Street and Summers Avenue. The original event was
discontinued after a decade for economic reasons.
On July 1, 1911, members of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce
and Orangeburg County Farmers’ Union collaborated to present the first
Orangeburg County Fair under the Orangeburg County Fair Association. In
June of that year, land for the fair was purchased for $4000 from the late
A.L. Dukes. A racetrack was also built prior to the inaugural event for auto
and horse racing.
Held Nov. 14 – 18, 1911, the first fair produced a profit of $4,032. Admission
was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children. Football was also played
at the fair. The University of South Carolina, Clemson University and The
Citadel all played at the fair at different times beginning in 1916.

Records indicate the first night high school football game in South Carolina
was played on the local fairgrounds between Sumter and Orangeburg. The
college games were held on Thursdays.

The fair also accommodated the rap idly changing technology of the early
20th century. Automobiles, previously banned from the fairgrounds for fear
they would spook the horses, were finally allowed parking privileges in
1917. In 1919, the fair board agreed to hire an attorney to represent a
W.S. Tyler, who had his teeth injured by the Slater Brothers. Tyler was
working at an entrance gate when the Slater Brothers allegedly insisted they
were entitled to free admission to the fair.
Tastes for fair entertainment have changed over the years. As a result,
football games are no longer played on the fairgrounds and beauty contests,
band concerts, horse shows, races and high school sporting competitions
are no longer held there. Today’s fair goers expect to see mechanical rides of
all types and games of skill on the midway.
Despite the fact that the number of farms is steadily dwindling, several
agricultural, canning, baking and crafting competitions are still held at the
fair each year.

149 Centre Street • P.O. Box 844 • Orangeburg, S.C. 29116-0844

Gerald J. Davis, Attorney
803•531•3888 • FAX (803) 531-3322
AutO-ACCidentS • CriminAl deFenSe • PerSOnAl injury • dui & trAFFiC


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