Did you know a fair has operated continually in Charleston County since 1924? During those years, the Fair has evolved from a small county fair serving the immediate Charleston area to an operation that reaches the entire Tricounty area and beyond. During its first 32 years, the Fair was owned by the Charleston Agriculture and Industrial Association. During their ownership, the Fair survived The Great Depression and the most devastating war in our history, World War II.
In 1954, The Exchange Club of Charleston began a study to search for a fund-raising activity in an effort to provide funds to local area charities and community service events. For the next two years,the Club visited fairs and festivals in North Carolina and South Carolina to determine the resources necessary to run such an event. In 1957, the Exchange Club assumed ownership of the Charleston County Fair with a vision to grow the fair and operate the fair as the Coastal Carolina Empire Fair.
This first fair would continue operations at a location across the street from Johnson-Hagood Football Stadium. In 1958, the Fair leased the grounds owned by the City of Charleston. Just 5 months before the fair opened, the Exhibit Building was destroyed by arson. Because the Exhibit Building was an essential part of a successful fair, Charleston City Council allowed the Fair to utilize an area under the bleachers at the stadium. The show would go on.
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