The 153rd South Carolina State Fair returns Oct. 12-23, with 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,” says S.C. State Fair General Manager Nancy Smith. “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.”
Food and Beverages
With more than 90 food stands, guests will find everything — from innovative indulgences (fried cookie dough and donut burgers), to S.C. State Fair staples (Fiske fries and foot-long corn dogs), to lighter fare (the ultimate Greek salad) — luring all types of food lovers from across the state. Guests can enjoy a variety of new food options this year, including Steak Poutine Sundae, cookies and cream topped funnel cakes and elephant ears, fried Moon Pies and watermelon ice tea. Plus, warm cookies and milk await guests in the expanded cookie kitchen, located in the Rosewoods Salon. Check out the new Food Concessions Map at SCStateFair.org/foodmap.
Rides and Fun
With 60 rides, this year’s S.C. State Fair is sure to create out of this world memories — from sky-high thrillers to family-friendly fun rides, including the following new rides:
- Flying Jumbos: This adorable kiddie 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 a breathtaking aerial view as the Giant Vertigo takes riders on a high-swing thrill ride!
- Sky Screamer: If you don’t like heights and going fast – stay away from this ride! But, if you like a thrill, have a seat.
The S.C. State Fair will feature Pay-One-Price (POP) ride days every day. 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. Visit SCStateFair.org 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. Get ready for the thrills under the new big top. The CIRCUS, located beside the Ellison building near the South Gate Entrance, will perform three 40 minute-long shows each day. Shows begin at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Daily admission to the CIRCUS is free with your fair admission ticket. Led by Ringmaster Ian Garden, the CIRCUS acts will include performances from:
- Renaldo (clown)
- American Cyclones (motorcycle and trapeze)
- Zeman Duo (roller skating)
- Disharmony (trapeze)
- Anna Dangerous (whips and arrows)
- Yulia and her Flying Pole (aerial pole)
- Gravity Arts X Wall (LED trampoline acrobatics)
- Traveling Moon Exhibit: Museum of the Moon, an international traveling exhibition sponsored by South Carolina ETV, will be on display in the Cantey building.
- Music: The following bands will perform each night at 7 p.m. on the Pepsi Place Stage.
- Villa*Nova, Oct. 12
- Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, Oct. 13
- FreeBird — Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute, Oct. 14
- Jason Sikes — Tribute to Elvis, Oct. 15
- Orquesta Macuba, Oct. 16
- Ranky Tanky, Oct. 17
- Sugarcane Jane, Oct. 18
- Ervin McKoy — Da Soul Man, Oct. 19
- Jess Kellie Adams, Oct. 20
- The Tams, Oct. 21
- Danny Dawson Band, Oct. 22
- Joshua Rogers, Oct. 23 (starts at 4 p.m.)
- Heritage Village: Fair visitors can experience the wonders of 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 and the educational — yet immersive — experience is sure to leave an impression on family members of all ages.
- 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. In addition to many returning favorites, the following performers will be new to this year’s fair. The Academic Avenue Stage is sponsored by Prisma Health.
- The Circus Man — Jason D’Vaude
- Safari Sam and Oscar the Awesome Ostrich
- Marc Dobson — One-Man Band
- Bantu Wizards — African Acrobats
- Rockland Road — A Nashville family band
- Dennis Lee — The band and “Denny the Clown”
- Columbia’s Praise Sunday with 95.7
- Sneak Peek of Columbia City Ballet’s Dracula: Ballet with A Bite
Art and Flower Exhibits
- The beauty of art and flowers will return to this year’s flower show. The flower arrangements will be dispersed among a wide range of artworks throughout the Cantey building. In addition to Potted Plant and Cut Horticulture competitions, several flower shows will be held in the Cantey building at the S.C. State Fair, including the Ikebana International Chapter #182, the Garden Club Council of Greater Columbia, Mid-Carolina Camellia Society and the South Carolina Rose Society.
- Patrons can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Fine Art Department in the Cantey building as they view the works of some of the state’s best amateur, professional and student artists. Featured categories include ceramics, pottery, aqua painting, oil painting, drawing, mixed media, prints, photography, digital photography, open media and sculpture.
Your Fair Your Army (New!)
- 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 “your army.” The United States Army, South Carolina Army National Guard and the United States Army Cadet Command will provide an unprecedented showcase of equipment and soldiers of different military occupational specialties. Soldiers and military representatives will be onsite to answer questions and provide an overview of what they do and the equipment on display.
- “Your Fair Your Army” is free with fair admission and can be found in the following three locations: the gaming trailer located at the North end of the fairgrounds by the Rocket, inside the Ruff building, and near the South Gate next to the Moore building. Visit SCStateFair.org for more information.
Agriculture and Livestock
- The S.C. State Fair is rooted in agriculture. South Carolina residents will compete for bragging rights and a blue ribbon with their home-grown produce, including apples, home garden wagons, large pumpkins and watermelons, Christmas trees, a shoe garden, sugar cane, sweet potatoes and more. There will even be a scarecrow making contest. Visit with the South Carolina Beekeepers, Clemson Extension and 4H, and stop by the produce stand to purchase South Carolina-grown produce.
- Visit with live farm animals, including swine, sheep, rabbits, horses and more. Watch a donkey and mule show, experience swine races and get up close and meet members of the Commerford Petting Zoo, a family-owned and operated petting zoo featuring domestic animals and hand-raised exotic animals.
The S.C. State Fair offers the following daily promotions:
- Children: All children 5 and under will be admitted FREE every day.
- Seniors: $15 admission every day.
- Pay-One-Price (POP) Ride Days: The S.C. State Fair will once again feature Pay-One-Price (POP) ride days every day. Patrons can enjoy unlimited rides by exchanging a ride voucher for a POP wristband at specially marked ticket booths.
- Lunch Bunch: Pop in and out of the S.C. State Fair for lunch with a special lunch bunch ticket, available from noon-2 p.m. each weekday (except Wednesday, Oct. 12). Pay your entry fee and receive a refundable $20 ticket. Return to the ticket booth with the ticket by 2 p.m. to get your money back.
Special Promotional Days
- Oct. 12 — $5 admission at the gate
- Oct. 13, 17 and 20 — Military Appreciation Days
- Oct. 13 – Sensory-Friendly Morning
- Oct. 13 – South Carolina Farm Bureau Day
- Oct. 14 – Diabetes Awareness Day
- Oct. 15 – 4-H Day
- Oct. 17 – College Day
- Oct. 18 – Future Farmers of America Day
- Oct. 18 and 19 — SCETV Days
- Oct. 20 – Exceptional Citizens Day
Sensory-Friendly Morning (New!)
The lights and sounds of the S.C. State Fair will be a little lower from 10 a.m.-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. The goal for the morning is to enable families who have a member, whether child or adult, with special needs to visit, explore and enjoy the fair. Download the S.C. State Fair storyboard to learn about the S.C. State Fair experience before you go.
For a complete list of promotional days and their details: https://www.scstatefair.org/plan-your-visit/promotions/
Discount admission tickets are $10 per person ($15-$20 during the fair) and discount ride vouchers are $30 per person ($35-$38 during the fair). Visit SCStateFair.org or a participating Circle K location to purchase discount tickets now through Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Health and Safety
The S.C. State Fair is committed to providing a safe experience for its patrons. Visit SCStateFair.org to learn more about the fair’s clear bag policy, youth policy, safety guidelines, and the latest COVID-19 precautions and policies.
About the South Carolina State Fair
The South Carolina State Fair, a self-supporting 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was organized in 1869 and is dedicated to preserving and promoting South Carolina’s agricultural roots while supporting statewide education. In addition to the 12-day South Carolina State Fair, the charitable organization manages annual football parking, is a popular event venue and hosts Carolina Lights — Columbia’s downtown drive-through light show. The South Carolina State Fair has awarded more than $4 million in scholarships since 1997.
More information can be found at SCStateFair.org.
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Media outlets: Click here to access the S.C. State Fair Digital Press Kit.
–South Carolina State Fair