• SC's Sparkleberry Country Fair ends after 23-year run

    Updated:
    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A 23-year tradition in Northeast Columbia has come to an end.

    The annual Sparkleberry Country Fair, which features rides, games, exhibits, live music and animal demonstrations, is being discontinued.

    The fair was held annually at Clemson's Sandhill Research and Education Center on the last Saturday of April since 1995, The State reported. The event helped raise money for the Richland 2 School District, which funded grants for the district's teachers and scholarships for high school students.

    "We had a great run over the past 23 years," said Fair Chairman Bill McCracken. "We raised over $900,000 for the Richland Two School District, made a lot of new friends, and had fun in the process."

    The cancellation comes after Clemson announced plans to expand its crop research efforts at the center. The center's director, Dr. Katherine Coleman, said they recognized the fair's importance as a community event, but can't continue to host it "out of concern for the research that is taking place on the grounds."

    The fair's board said the group launched an extensive search for a new location and many possible were found but none met the minimum requirements to safely operate the fair.

    The class of 2019 scholarship recipients will be the last from the fair. Any remaining money in the Sparkleberry fair's accounts will be donated to the district.

    "The Sparkleberry Country Fair Board extends its gratitude to Clemson University and the Sandhills Recreation and Education Center for hosting the Fair during its 23-year run," a news release said. "The board would also like to thank all the volunteers and community members who contributed to the success of the fair for so many years."

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    Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com

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