The South Carolina State Fair has named Nancy L. Smith the fair’s new general manager, effective January 1 of 2018.
Smith, the fair’s assistant general manager since 2008, will succeed State Fair general manager, Gary Goodman, who is retiring in December after 33 years in that role.
“I have loved this fair and what it has meant to this community for many years, and I have long been inspired by Gary’s leadership,” Smith said. “Having the opportunity to follow in his footsteps and maintain the fair’s legacy is truly an honor.”
Smith, 60, has worked with the fair for more than 30 years. She began in the fair’s home and craft department in 1983 and eventually was named superintendent of that department. She assumed a full time position in 2000 as director of entertainment and exhibits and continued in that position until being named assistant general manager.
Goodman, who served as the 2005 chair of the International Association of Fair and Expositions and has overseen a series of grounds improvements at the fair in recent years, said he is leaving the fair in good hands.
“Nobody knows the details of this fair and its operations better than Nancy,” Goodman said. “She really has a heart for giving to this community and that is one of the most important qualities for someone to have in this position.”
Smith currently serves as Zone 2 director with the International Association of Fairs and Expositions. In that capacity, she represents South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia in the association.
Smith graduated from Lexington High School and the Columbia Fashion Merchandising School.
S.C. State Fair board chairman, Bill Cantey, credited Smith’s professionalism and said the fair’s leadership will continue to thrive.
“She has all the talents needed to run the fair and has the experience to operate it,” Cantey said. “She is extremely qualified.”
As the state’s largest event, The South Carolina State Fair is a self-supported, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating South Carolina’s young adults. The fair awards more than $300,000 in scholarships each year.
The fair has 21 full-time employees and hires an additional 300 seasonal employees during the fair each October. Throughout the year the fairgrounds serve as the venue for some of the state’s most popular events, including the Craftsman’s Classic and The International Festival and for University of South Carolina football parking.
“I look forward to working with our team to continue to build the great tradition of the S.C. State Fair as we make the best better,” Smith said.
This year’s 148th anniversary State Fair will run October 11-22 in Columbia.