Step right up, folks – the S.C. State Fair is in town!
And, with so much to see, do and eat, you can’t possibly get to it all – at least not without a good strategy.
That’s where we come in: Go Columbia has combed through all of the fair’s scheduled activities to craft a list of daily recommendations.
Wednesday, Oct. 12
Never miss a local story.
Opening day of the fair means $1 admission day! And since it’s normally $10 to get in, brave the crowd and browse all the exhibitors, games, rides and food locations you can.
Thursday, Oct. 13
You’ve been thinking about fair food all year, so why not jump in with both feet for the popular lunch promotion. It will cost you a bit more this year –$10 – but if you arrive by noon and leave by 2 p.m., you still get it back.
Friday, Oct. 14
TGI Friday! The best way to start the weekend is a dare. We like the new Freak Out, a 70-foot-tall tower that dangles and spins you at a 120-degree angle. And this year, you can ride for a whole day with the pay-one-price wristband, even on weekends.
Saturday, Oct. 15
It’s the first Saturday of the fair, which could mean long lines and wait times. Take a break from the chaos for cute animals. On Academic Avenue, you can watch piglets race, help prepare cow milk and catch two exclusive shows at 10 a.m. beside the Smallstock Barn: chickens and rabbits judged on “showmanship.”
Sunday, Oct. 16
Who’s up for a food crawl? Create your own eating theme, whether it’s new foods (think Parmesan-crusted burgers and a pickled corndogs), fried treats (butter, Oreos, Elephant Ears, funnel cakes, Fiske Fries) or something else.
Monday, Oct. 17
Find yourself a seat and do some people watching. Specifically, look for the roving entertainers like Bandaloni, a one man band; the two-time Grammy Award-winning all-female vocal ensemble Mariachi Divas; and “comedy juggler” Niels Duinker.
Tuesday, Oct. 18
For your pick-me-up Tuesday, check out a few of the bigger entertainment offerings, like Kenya Safari Acrobats, King BMX Stunt Show or magician, illusionist and hypnotist Ron Diamond.
Wednesday, Oct. 19
Vroom, vroom! That’s the sound you’ll hear as some NASCAR’s notables come to the fair to meet and greet fans. And do some racing yourself with a racing the virtual reality tour, “Get in the Driver Seat.”
Thursday, Oct. 20
Don’t overlook the exhibits! Take home a souvenir you helped forge from blacksmith duo Marvin and Beverly Gardner, check out the show flowers you wish you could grow, and get some ideas for next year’s beach trip at the Sandscapes sculpture.
Friday, Oct. 21
Buenas noches, it’s Latin night! Wear your dancing shoes and enjoy music from the Palmetto Latin 5, Digital Frenesi and DJ Angel. Also look for Zumba demonstrations, salsa dancing and giveaways. ¡Suena divertido! (Sounds like fun!)
Saturday, Oct. 22
Get ready for crowds in this corner of the world, as there’s a USC home football game. You can attend both events for the price of one entry by showing your unused game day ticket at the fair gate prior to the noon kickoff and get into the fair free. You can squeeze in the little Marsh Tacky horse performance at 10 a.m. before heading to Williams-Brice Stadium.
Sunday, Oct. 23
What better way to end the fair than with a little praise and worship? Join Grammy Award-winning artist Kirk Franklin for a free (yes, free) concert, where he is sure to get the crowd on their feet. Then, close out this year’s fair run with one of your favorite fair activities – riding the Ferris wheel, eating a funnel cake – to tide yourself over until next year.
If you go
ADMISSION: $10; $7 for seniors ages 55 and older; free for retired, active military and dependents with current IDs as well as children ages 5 and under (with paying adult).
PARKING: $5 (cash)
YOUTH ENTRANCE POLICY: All youth under age 18 are required to be accompanied by a parent 21 and older to be admitted to the fair after 6 p.m. Anyone age 18 and older may be asked to show a valid driver’s license for proof of age to be admitted without a parent after 6 p.m.
FOLLOW US: Dwaun Sellers will be sampling the best of the S.C. State Fair – @gocolumbiasc