From longtime favorites like the sand sculpture and Grandstand entertainment to a new fair app and on-site film festival, the South Carolina State Fair is offering many ways to “Find Your Happy” this year.
The gates open Wednesday for the 144th anniversary fair in Columbia. Here, some fair offerings to help you enjoy all the sights, sounds and tastes during the fair’s 12-day run.
Indie Grits 48-Hour Film Blitz: Fair visitors will be able to view mini-movies filmed on site as part of this year’s inaugural film festival. Ten teams of filmmakers have been selected from across the state and will have 48 hours – beginning Friday – to write, shoot and edit movies imagined and produced entirely on the State Fairgrounds. The films will debut Oct. 14 in the "From Field to Fair" exhibition in the Cantey Building and will be played throughout the fair’s run. Guests will get the chance to vote for their favorite film.
Find Your Happy App: Wondering about show times, food offerings or ticket prices? Well, as they say, there’s now an app for that. The State Fair’s Find Your Happy app will include lots of info for the mobile fair-goer. Download SC State Fair on your mobile device.
Grandstand: This year’s musical lineup includes three free concerts – Corey Smith (Oct. 10), Kirk Franklin (Oct. 13), and The Temptations (Oct. 19). The remaining acts include The Band Perry (Oct. 9), Foreigner (Oct. 11), Hunter Hayes (Oct. 12), Needtobreathe (Oct. 18) and Justin Moore (Oct. 20). Tickets range from $15 to $30 and include gate admission if purchased online at www.scstatefair.org.
Let’s eat: From noon to 2 p.m. weekdays, fair patrons can exchange $5 for a ticket at the entrance and grab lunch at the fair, then return their token for a $5 refund as long as they exit the gates by 2 p.m. Among new fair foods to check out this year – Radical Dogs, with four varieties of corndogs; Redneck Burger, consisting of cheese, bacon, fried bologna, baked beans, potato sticks and all the fixins’ on a bun; and a Mac & Cheese Burger, with cheese, bacon, mac and cheese and all the fixins’.
Sandscapes: More than 75,000 tons of sand are being converted into “A Season of Merry Merrymaking,” as this year’s artists create everything from a carousel to a Ferris wheel of flowers – all before your very eyes. The work can be found daily in the Ellison Building. A second sand sculpture is planned this year in the rear of the Roof Building.
POP Rides: Each weekday is a pay-one-price ride day. Each ride requires two to five coupons, so the unlimited deal is a bargain for those really active riders. POP ride vouchers are $23 if purchased before the fair opens at any Bi-Lo stores and $28 during the fair.
Petting zoo: No, really, go ahead and touch them. The Commerford and Sons Petting Zoo will feature camels, elephants and ponies. Just don’t forget to wash those little hands afterwards.
Walk-through DMV: The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will offer more services this year. Fair patrons can purchase specialty license plates, certified driving records and the SC Driver’s Handbook at the DMV booth inside the Hampton Building.
Home Free: Five vocalists will engage audiences with a rich blend of harmonies as they perform hits from the past and present. The group performs daily on the Netterfield stage.
American Heritage Village: Various aspects of early rural American life will be featured in this hands-on exhibit that can be found each day along the fair’s Academic Avenue.