Annual Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic Canceled Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Hundreds of people walking through an exhibit floor.
Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic

The Harry Hampton Wildlife Fund, in coordination with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), has made the difficult decision to cancel the annual Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic scheduled for Friday, March 26, through Sunday, March 28, at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds.

“The health and well-being of South Carolinians and others traveling to South Carolina’s largest hunting, fishing and outdoor expo remain our top concern,” said Dan DuPre, Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic director. “We must take every precaution to protect the thousands of attendees, vendors and volunteers expected to attend the event.”

This is the second year in a row that the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic has been canceled due to the pandemic.

The Classic is one of the largest events held at the State Fairgrounds, with attendance reaching nearly 40,000 in its past several iterations, and its proceeds have funded millions of dollars of conservation work in South Carolina over the years. The Harry Hampton Wildlife Fund and SCDNR set two criteria for the event to take place this year: 1) number of cases in South Carolina; and 2) access to vaccinations. COVID-19 cases across South Carolina and the country have increased in the last month, and vaccines will not be available to the majority of the public until late spring to late summer.

With the public health risk posed by COVID-19, DuPre said there was no way to ensure that this event did not contribute to the spread of the virus. “Organizers of the 2021 Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic did not come to this decision lightly,” he said. “Over the last several days, we have heard your concerns and are taking our cues from similar events across the country.”

Looking forward to next year, preparations have already begun for the 2022 Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, tentatively scheduled for March 25-27. “We look forward to continuing this tradition,” DuPre said.

SCDNR encourages the public to stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 information by visiting the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control website at scdhec.gov and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.