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Pink ribbon, state fair

COLUMBIA -- Nothing was going to stop the 145th edition of the South Carolina State Fair from taking a place of honor in the history books. The first-ever Pink Fair set new attendance records for opening day (41,022), second Thursday (52,414) and closing day (45,936) and welcomed an impressive 473,359 fairgoers during its 12-days of Find Your Happy fun – the second largest attendance in the Fair’s history.

In spite of a rainy first Sunday, sever weather that curtailed the festivities on Tuesday, and a late cancellation of the much-anticipated ZZ Top show due to an injury in the band, Fair officials are pleased with an event that made a meaningful, memorable mark on the state.

“We’ll forever consider 2014 a banner year for the SC State Fair,” said General Manager Gary Goodman. “We’re extremely proud that the Pink Fair put the important issue of breast cancer awareness front and center for 12 days. We’re grateful to our fantastic group of healthcare partners here in the Midlands, the very responsive and supportive media all over the state, and the absolutely amazing participation and encouragement from individuals and organizations throughout the Southeast.”

The Fair’s Assistant General Manager Nancy Smith put a finer point on the 2014 success story. “Our goal for the Pink Fair – from the earliest planning stages – was to celebrate the survivors among us and share resources that would help save lives.” The celebration was evident in the more than 10,000 messages and tributes left by fairgoers on a ‘Wall of Hope’ recognizing breast cancer survivors and remembering those lost to the disease in the past.

“Our cause was contagious,” said Smith. “Our midway provider and concessionaires joined us in ‘going pink’ in ways we never imagined. They bought pink banners, had pink signs and flags made, they provided pink POP bracelets and even decked out the Ferris wheels and lots of other structures in pink. This was no small task and we can’t thank them enough; they really kept our important mission in the foreground.”

Gary Goodman agreed. “This year’s State Fair revolved around a very real celebration of life and hope, and I sincerely hope we’ve contributed to saving lives in the process with information and resources.”

Log on to www.scstatefair.org for a slideshow of highlights from the 145th edition of our Fair. While you’re there, download a free Breast Cancer Resource Guide to keep the spirit of the first-ever Pink Fair alive continuing to sow the seeds of hope and support for survivors for many years to come.

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