"Big Cat Encounter" at S.C. fair next week

FUN FOR ALL: Orangeburg County Fair begins Monday
By WENDY JEFFCOAT CRIDER, T&D Features Editor
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The crisp air that ushers in the fall season also brings the sights and sounds of a local tradition.
In its 98th year, the Orangeburg County Fair will offer a week of fair fare, artistry, rides, entertainment and more Sept. 29-Oct. 5 at the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds.
Fair manager L.C. Kissam said rides, special shows and food vendors are already setting up for next week’s event. He said the biggest change this year is that the fair will be back to its seven-day schedule.
“We missed two days, and I’m sure that, financially, it hit us a little bit,” Kissam said of last year’s fair, which was cut short because of scheduling conflicts. “It was one of those things that really couldn’t be helped.”
“Hopefully, the economy won’t hurt us too bad (this year),” he added. “Instead of everyone going to Columbia (for the State Fair), maybe they’ll come to us instead.”
The fun begins Monday when gates open at 5 p.m. Patrons will be able to enjoy dozens of rides, courtesy of Smokey Mountain Amusements, all evening long with the purchase of $15 wrist bands. Local talent will be featured throughout the week at the Gazebo, and kids young and old will be able to enjoy a petting zoo and exhibitions featuring local art, crafts and foods and much more.
“We’ve got a Big Cat Encounter Bengal tiger and lion show, and we’re also gonna have … a performing horse show,” Kissam said. A kiddie show will feature a clown, trained dogs and more.
Other highlights for the week include the Junior Dairy and Commercial Dairy Heifer Show on Tuesday, the 4-H/FFA Tractor Driving contest on Wednesday, the Junior Beef Cattle Show on Thursday and the Youth Barrow Show and Orangeburg Motoplex motocross races on Friday. On Saturday, 4-H/FFA Wether Goat Show, the S.C. Meat Goat Association Fall Show and Orangeburg Motoplex flat track motorcycle races will keep visitors entertained.
Student Day is Tuesday, with students through college presenting an ID admitted free until 6 p.m. On Wednesday, senior citizens 65 and older will be admitted free to the fair. Gates will open at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, for the final day of the fair and close at 8 p.m.
On Tuesday and Thursday morning, Kissam said the grounds will be filled with hundreds of local school and day care children, who will enjoy free admission, rides and entertainment at the fairgrounds. He said this is mainly for children who may not otherwise be able to attend the fair.
“To me, that’s the next generation of fairgoers,” Kissam said.
Kissam said individuals wishing to eat lunch at the fairgrounds Tuesday through Friday will be admitted free as long as they drive in at the lower gate on Magnolia Street between noon and 2 p.m. Cars will be parked in a designated area and will be impounded and admission will be charged if not removed by 2 p.m. No walk-ins will be admitted at that time.
Daily fair admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children 6 to 12 years old and free for children under 6. Season tickets are available for $25. Parking will be free all week, and gates will close at 10:30 p.m. daily.
Kissam said the Orangeburg County Fair has always strived to be a place where families can go and have a good, safe time.
“We’ve always been a family-oriented fair, and we try to keep it that way,” he said. “It’s good, clean, wholesome fun. Your kids can come out there, and you can feel that they’re safe.
“When I see a kid having a big time, that’s my pay. That’s what it’s all about.”
For more information, visit www.orangeburgcountyfair.org.
T&D Features Editor Wendy Jeffcoat Crider can be reached by e-mail at wjeffcoat@timesanddemocrat.com or by telephone at 803-533-5546. Discuss this and other stories online at TheTandD.com.
http://www.thetandd.com/articles/2008/09/25/features/13254286.txt
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