The 153rd South Carolina State Fair begins today, Oct. 12, in Columbia and lasts through Oct. 23, bringing with it a full lineup of traditional favorites and a variety of new rides, foods, entertainment, as well as a traveling moon exhibition and the return of the CIRCUS at the Fair.
“As the state’s largest event, we take pride that we’re able to showcase South Carolina’s best in food, agriculture, music and much more,” S.C. State Fair General Manager Nancy Smith said in a news release. “We can’t wait for our guests to have a taste of what makes our state so great — its people and traditions. This year’s South Carolina State Fair will be out of this world with many fair classics you’ve come to expect, but with the addition of so many new and exciting offerings.”
Here's a breakdown of what to know this year:
Food and beverages
With more than 90 food stands, guests will find everything — from indulgences (fried cookie dough and donut burgers), to state fair staples (Fiske fries and foot-long corn dogs), to lighter fare (the ultimate Greek salad), the release stated.
New items this year include a steak poutine sundae, cookies and cream topped funnel cakes and elephant ears, fried Moon Pies and watermelon ice tea.
You can find a food map here.
Rides and fun
This year’s fair features 60 rides, including the following new attractions:
- Flying Jumbos: This kids ride sends kids spinning in delight high in the air.
- The Money Maze: This monkey-themed, kid-friendly maze is packed with fun and surprise for the kiddos.
- Giant Vertigo: Get an aerial view as the Giant Vertigo takes riders on a high-swing thrill ride.
- Sky Screamer: This one goes high and fast.
- The S.C. State Fair will feature Pay-One-Price (POP) ride days every day, the release stated. Patrons can enjoy unlimited rides by exchanging a ride voucher for a POP wristband at specially marked ticket booths.
The following entertainment highlights will take place at this year’s S.C. State Fair. Click here for a full list of entertainment.
- CIRCUS at the Fair: The free, daily CIRCUS at the Fair is returning for a third year and will feature a new tent, fresh new acts and a never-before-seen show. The CIRCUS, located beside the Ellison building near the South Gate Entrance, will perform three 40 minute-long shows each day
- Traveling Moon Exhibit: Museum of the Moon, an international traveling exhibition sponsored by South Carolina ETV, will be on display in the Cantey building.
- Heritage Village: Fair visitors can experience yesteryear in the Heritage Village where a multi-dimensional display of entertainment, crafts, bowl turning and pottery from years gone by will be on display. This year’s display features a glass blower.
- Roving Shows and Academic Avenue Stage: The S.C. State Fair will feature a mix of roving and stage shows, including various musical shows, dance groups, animal acts, magicians, jugglers, stunt artists and other entertainers
- New event: Your Fair Your Army: New this year is a special “Your Fair Your Army” exhibit, an opportunity for fairgoers to enjoy “your fair” as well as meet and interact with U.S. Army, South Carolina Army National Guard and the United States Army Cadet Command.
- New event: Sensory-friendly morning: The lights and sounds of the S.C. State Fair will be a little lower from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Oct. 13, when the S.C. State Fair hosts its first-ever Sensory-Friendly Morning. During Sensory-Friendly Morning, the S.C. State Fair will create an environment designed with children and adults with autism or sensory processing disorders in mind.