Organized in 1869, the South Carolina State Fair continues to keep its very important agricultural roots alive, while offering fun, food, education and great competitive exhibit opportunities for all. Each October, people of all ages come to Columbia to participate in the South Carolina State Fair, one of the TOP 50 Fairs in the United States. Exhibits as well as livestock competitions and entertainment draw both rural and urban crowds.
Today, the State Agricultural and Mechanical Society of South Carolina has full responsibility for the operation of the fair and much of the proceeds are provided to charitable organizations throughout the state. Though the fair is still considered the "State Fair", it is not state-owned and receives no appropriation from the State of South Carolina.
The Society has 6 buildings, totaling more than 125,000 square feet of exhibit space. The premiums offered for the Society's annual state fair have grown from $5,000 in 1882 to more than $300,000, and, at the same time, attendance has increased from 3,000 to a record-breaking 600,000+. Also, other shows, exhibitions, and events are held at the site throughout the year to further the Society's objective "to promote the material, educational, agricultural and industrial interests of the state." Throughout its existence, the State Agricultural and Mechanical Society of South Carolina has continued to fulfill that charge.