Third-generation family business continues tradition at SC State Fair

Third-generation family business continues tradition at SC State Fair
Third generation family business at the South Carolina State Fair (Source: Emily Wakeman)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - It’s the last day of the South Carolina State Fair and hundreds of fairgoers went to soak up their last day of rides and sweet foods before all the vendors pack up until next year. Each year the fair brings special memories for the thousands of attendees, but it also brings special memories for the food vendors.

The line in front of DeAnna’s Steak Sundaes has been a line all day long, but it’s not just the steak sundaes and all of the delicious toppings that make this stand special, but rather the family that runs it.

It all started 26 years ago with DeAnna and Jeff Hagy, and it continues on with their five children and their first grandchild who all are in the booth behind me serving up sundaes for the final hours of the fair.

“I feel like I’m getting to almost relive my childhood. and I also realize how special it is for my parents getting to see it go into the next generation,” Ryan Hagy said.

Ryan Hagy said DeAnna’s booth has been at the South Carolina State Fair for the last four years, and it’s a special place for him and his family.

The first year at the State Fair, Hagy was dating his now-wife, Shawna, who he met while they were both working at a fair. Shawna’s cousin, who was working alongside her at a nearby stand, introduced them.

“He was like I need you to meet this guy, so we are going to go over to their stand so I went over there and the rest is history,” Shawna said.

The second-year at the Fair, they were engaged. In the third year, Shawna was pregnant. This year, their son Archer is experiencing the fair for the first time.

“This fair has played so much into our lives as far as milestones for our relationship and now with our family having little archer,” Ryan said.

Hagy and his four siblings all grew up working at the fair with his parents.

“All of us kids were born and raised on the fairgrounds so we’ve been living and breathing fairs as long as we can remember,” Megan Hagy said.

Megan Hagy and her three adult siblings all went into the family business. They each run their own stand at every fair except the South Carolina State Fair, where they all work together, just like when they were kids.

“We were homeschooled, constantly around each other, constantly making fun of each other, and being able to be with each other,” Megan said.

Ryan says working alongside his family is special, and hopes to see his son Archer continues on the family business one day too.

“We are just going to keep moving forward and try to bring lots of smiles to the people here at the fair because that’s what it’s about...bringing people smiles and bringing some great food along the way.”

Hagy said that their food has been featured by Food Network and Carnival Eats. He said they enjoy coming up with fun new recipes to bring to the fair each year.

South Carolina State Fair officials say they had over 90 food stands with everything from the classics, like funnel cakes and elephant ears, to new recipes, like the Chili Mac Attack Sundae at DeAnna’s.

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