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Pee Dee State Fair opens Thursday in Florence

September 6, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. — For the next 11 days, Florence residents will have the opportunity to experience thrilling attractions, entertainment shows and tasty treats at the Florence Center as part of the Greater Pee Dee State Fair & Expo.

The Greater Pee Dee State Fair & Expo will open at 4 p.m. Thursday and will run every day through Saturday, Sept. 16. Florence Center officials will celebrate the grand opening with a brief ceremony beginning at 3:45 p.m. before holding a ribbon cutting with confetti cannons.

Nick Hooker, director of marketing for the Florence Center, said admission for the event this evening will be free for the public.

“The parking lot is jam-packed with rides, games, attractions, food vendors and a concert stage,” Hooker said. “We’ve successfully converted the Florence Center into an amusement park.”

The fair will open at 4 p.m. during weekdays and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children 12 years or younger, but the fair will have several promotions throughout its 11-day course, including Scrubs Night, 4-H Day at the Fair, Military and First Responders Night, two student nights, and a Faith & Family Day. Visit florencefair.com for more information.

The carnival will feature approximately 50 rides, including the world’s largest portable roller coaster and one of the tallest mobile swing towers in the nation called “Cloud Nine,” as well as a 140-foot-tall pendulum-style gondola with speeds reaching 40 to 50 mph.

“A lot of people have asked if there are attractions for younger children and the answer is ‘yes,’” Hooker said. “We have plenty of kiddie rides, children’s games, plus a pirate show, alligator show, petting zoo and more exciting attractions to keep the little ones smiling. Plus of course we have plenty of exhilarating thrill rides to for those who are a bit more adventurous.”

Although the state fair is not an agricultural fair, the event will have 10 different 4-H Clubs with both booths and displays, Hooker said. The 4-H Clubs will be offering content, agriculture and animal displays and hosting coloring contests for kids who will have a chance to win tickets to see Disney On Ice. The booths will be judged for cash prizes.

“Plus, of course, we’ll have Eudora Farms Exotic Petting Zoo with a huge animal display, petting zoo, animal feeding, pony and camel rides as well as much more,” Hooker said. “It’s going to be much more than just rides.”

With thousands expected in attendance, the Florence Center has partnered with the Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority to provide more parking options.

There will be free parking in the lower deck of the Florence Center, but there will also be two overflow parking lots: at GE Healthcare across the street at 3001 W. Radio Drive and at the old Winn-Dixie parking at 124 S. Cashua Drive.

Those free parking lots will be available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with trolley and shuttle services running from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on those days. Seniors and ADA drop-off will be available in the lower deck of the Florence Center. For more information on parking, visit florencefair.com/directions.

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