Did you know that a fair has operated in Charleston County since 1922, when the Charleston County fair was held at College Park on Rutledge Avenue for two years? In 1924, the fair was held on the grounds of the Charleston Rifle Club, located at the north end of Rutledge Avenue. In 1925, the fair was moved downtown to Marion Square and was operated there for five years. The fair also used the adjacent old Citadel building during those five fairs. In 1930, the Charleston Agricultural and Industrial Fair was held on the grounds that surrounded Johnson Hagood Stadium. During World War II, 1942, 1943, and 1944, a full fair was not held, however, the fair association was involved in fall poultry and pigeon shows during the war years and a complete fair returned in 1945. Mr. William McCleod Frampton, president and general manager of the fair, was responsible for the many fair successes, from the 1920s through 1956.
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.
The first Coastal Carolina Fair would continue operations across the street from Johnson Hagood Stadium, this property was owned by the City of Charleston and was leased to the fair. February 20, 1958, the Exhibit Building was destroyed by fire and because the building was an essential part of a successful fair, Charleston City Council and the Charleston Stadium Commission allowed the fair to use the area under the bleachers at the stadium. The show would go on.