Marsh Tacky Races and Reenactments Highlight Upcoming Lowcountry Fair

What could be more fun than an old-fashioned country fair filled to the brim with historical flair?  With the arrival of crisp fall air, the Santa Elena Foundation is hosting the second annual Lowcountry Fair with Historical Flair on Saturday, November 3 from 11am to 5pm at the beautiful, privately owned Cotton Hall Plantation, in Northern Beaufort County.


The fun-filled family event is headlined by Marsh Tacky Horse Races, providing an exciting show for all who attend.  The Carolina Marsh Tacky Association showcases this unique breed, originally introduced by the Spanish explorers of the 16th century. The Marsh Tacky is the SC State Heritage Horse and one of the most endangered breeds in the world.  Before they race in the afternoon, these beautiful horses will be on display in fun show demonstrations.


Lowcountry fair marsh tackey races
November’s Lowcountry Fair will be highlighted by marsh tacky horse races, from the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association. Photo courtesy J. McFadden


The events featuring the Marsh Tacky horse will be the perfect complement to other headline activities, like Living History. Across a 50-acre field, over 500 years of local history will be on display with historical re-enactors showing family life, living conditions, and times of war, sacrifice, and change. From 16th century colonial times when Santa Elena was founded by the Spanish, through the American Revolution, the Civil War/Reconstruction era and up to WWII — men, women and children will demonstrate history in period costume. They will mingle with spectators, tell fascinating stories of life in days gone by, fire their weaponry, walk in a parade and engage visitors in fun, educational activities.


Children will also enjoy the exotic petting zoo, pony rides, and other fun activities. They can meet friends at the National Park Service and participate in a Junior Ranger program, or head over to see the critters brought by Coastal Discovery Museum, who have their own Marsh Tacky on site, named Comet.


The most delicious local food concessions will be available for purchase throughout the day from restaurant partners Plums, Saltus, Q on Bay, Sea Eagle Market, and Lady’s Island Single Oysters.  Enjoy the day’s activities with a lowcountry lunch, a sweet treat, and perhaps even a local brewed beer from Salt Marsh Brewing Company or Spanish wine. Sip and see throughout the area with music playing and artisans displaying their original products from iron-welded signs, to local honey, and everything in between.


And just when you think you’ve seen it all, follow a trail down to the plantation’s original operating sugar mill, still in use today. Enjoy a walk back in time to see how “sugar” was made in the antebellum South, thanks to the plantation owners who have preserved this art for decades and now welcome us to their home.

The Lowcountry Fair with Historical Flair is a fundraiser to benefit the Santa Elena Foundation’s mission to discover, promote and share a lost century of American history through the rise and fall of Santa Elena. “This fall’s Lowcountry Fair will be a stand-out event for the community to experience local heritage mixed in with plenty of good fun, food and friendship. This continues our efforts to highlight Beaufort County’s unique history and collaborate with others in the region.” remarked Megan Morris, Executive Director of the Santa Elena History Center.


The use of Cotton Hall Plantation is due to the generosity of the Harden Family. Cotton Hall dates back to about 1777 and was burned by General Sherman’s army during the Civil War.  In the 19th century, its main product was rice.  Corn, hay, sugar cane, and cattle can all be found there today.


Tickets are available for purchase online ( and at the event admission gate. If purchased in advance, bring confirmation of your tickets to the gate for entry. Prices are: $20/adult and $10/child (5-17), $50 for families, and $40 for active duty military families (show ID).  Patron tickets, which include seating for lunch and finish-line seating for the races, are available for $100.


To visit the website for Santa Elena’s Lowcountry Fair, visit To learn more about the SC Marsh Tacky Association, visit