Ahhhh, October. The weather is beginning to cool down — anyone bracing for that traditional “cold snap” we in Columbia experience the week of the State Fair?
This is the month that festivals are in full swing with multiple opportunities to get out and enjoy the city and make new friends.
Here are a few not-to-miss experiences in Columbia during October:
NOW THROUGH OCT. 22
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The 148th South Carolina State Fair: Hours vary: Today, admission is noon-10 p.m. and rides run 3-11 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, admission is 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and rides run noon-11 p.m. (Thursday) and noon-12 a.m. (Friday); Saturday, admission is 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and rides run 11 a.m.- 12 a.m.; Sunday, admission is noon-10 p.m. and rides run noon-11 p.m.; Monday through Oct. 19, admission is 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and rides run noon-11 p.m.; Oct. 20, admission is 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and rides run noon-12 a.m.; Oct. 21, admission is 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and rides run 11 a.m.-12 a.m.; Oct. 22, admission is noon-8 p.m. and rides run noon-10 p.m.
Whew! The Bullettrain Roller Coaster is THE new ride this year. New foods include the fried bologna burger, the catfish sundae, buffalo chicken gyros and the “3B” burger with beef, bacon and brisket. Probably not a good idea to combine the food and rides at the same time.
Check out the arts and crafts, cute animals and other displays in air-conditioned comfort, and then head over to the grandstand and other stages for entertainment ranging from a cappella acts, magicians and comedy.
Live music includes Brothers Osborne (tonight), Keith Sweat (Friday), Chris Young (Monday), ZZ Top (Oct. 18), Toby Mac (Oct. 20) and Sabrina Carpenter (Oct. 22).
OCT. 12 THROUGH OCT. 22
Restaurant Week Columbia: Various restaurants in the Columbia area will offer special menu items or pricing on meals during this period that, coincidentally, runs while the State Fair is in town. Check out the list of participating restaurants at www.restaurantweeksouthcarolina.com, and make a reservation for an old favorite or try something new.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14
Trinity Bazaar: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 1100 Sumter St.
Now in its 69th year, the bazaar is the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season. Church members have been preparing foods such as chicken pot pies, lasagne, homemade pickles, jams and jellies to sale as well as needlepoint ornaments and other crafts.
There will be live music and a children’s area, and BBQ and sandwiches will be available for lunch. Some items sell out fast, so come early for the best selection.
All proceeds go to local charities: Lighthouse for Life, Free Medical Clinic, Growing Home, Keepin’ It Real Ministries and Fresh Start. www.trinitysc.org/trinitybazaar
Newberry Harvest Festival: 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Enoree River Winery, 1650 Dusty Road, Newberry
Enoree River Winery hosts Proverbs 31 Winery, CityScape Winery, Mercer House Estate Winery and Old Rock Quarry Winery for a day of sipping and tasting local wines. Live music, food trucks, arts and crafts and more will be available. Tickets $30/adult, $10/guests under 21, free for children under 5. No outside coolers, personal cups, alcohol, beverages or food; no dogs permitted. www.enoreeriverwinery.com or (803) 276-2885
Palladium Society’s Bluegrass, Bidding & BBQ: 7-10 p.m., Robert Mills House & Gardens, 1616 Blanding St.
Presented by Jaguar Land Rover Columbia, this fundraiser for Historic Columbia’s Palladium Society includes live music by The Mustache Brothers, barbecue and fixings catered by Savvy Foods, and a silent auction of destination packages and gift cards to restaurants, boutiques and more. Tickets $25/Palladium Society members, $35/Historic Columbia members, $45/general public in advance, $50/at the door. All proceeds support Historic Columbia. www.historiccolumbia.org/bbq
BEGINNING OCT. 20
Boo at the Zoo: 6-9 p.m. rain or shine, Oct. 20-30, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, 500 Wildlife Parkway
Let your little monsters run free and trick or trea at the zoo, go on a Spooky Safari, wander through Frankenstein’s Foam Zone or dance the night away at Mummy’s Eeky Freaky Dance Party.
Tickets are limited, so best buy in advance, $9/zoo members, $11/general public, children under 2 admitted free. Trick-or-treating is reserved for children 12 and under. www.riverbanks.org
Five Points 30th Annual Chili Cook-off: noon-6:30 p.m. at Greene Street and Pavilion Avenue
Think you have the best chili? Sign up now to prove it in categories such as Best Overall, Vegetarian, Texas-style and NonTraditional. Awards also will be given for Best Set-up and The Group Therapy Silver Spoon Award for the most money raised. Craft beer, live music, cornhole, children’s area, food trucks (serving more than chili) and more. Sign up for chefs & teams is Oct. 18 ($25 saves you a spot, $125 gets your spot set up for you with a tent, table and chairs, hand-washing station and fire extinguisher).
Admission is free, chili $1/sample, proceeds go to local charities. fivepointscolumbia.com/events/Chili-Cook-Off#gallery-event
Oktoberfest Columbia: Oct. 13-15, Incarnation Lutheran Church, 3005 Devine St.
Features live music (polkas, anyone?) and authentic German food that includes schnitzels and wursts, sides such as potato salad, kraut and spaetzle and bakery items such as pfeffernusse (cinnamon, clove and ginger-spiced cookie), lebkuchen (honey-spice bar with almonds), linzer (hazelnut and raspberry sandwich cookie) and zitronenbretzeln (lemon pretzel-shaped cookie). German-style American craft beers from Swamp Cabbage, Palmetto Brewing Company, Columbia Craft Brewing (new), Goose Island, Brewery 85, Hi Wire, Red Hare, Devils Backbone and Wicked Weed. www.oktoberfestcolumbia.com
Jam Room Music Festival: noon-10 p.m. Oct, 14, 1500 Main St.
Technically it’s a music fest – but there’s a beer garden. And The Wurst Wagen will be there. So buy a brat and enjoy a brew while listening to Guided by Voices, Hiss Golden Messenger, Barnwell, King Vulture, Elf Power, The Lovely Few, Valley Maker, Hearts on Fire, FatRat Da Czar, NUMBTOUNGUE, Bombadil and Bask. jamroommusicfestival.com
Lexington Craft Beerfest: 6-10 p.m. Oct. 14, Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main St., Lexington
A beer-centric event with food provided by local restaurants. Hosted by the Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center, attendees must be 21 or older. Tickets, $20/person in advance, $30/person at the door, includes craft beer samples, commemorative glass and nonalcoholic beverages. www.lexingtonsc.org
... AND ONE TO LOOK FORWARD TO... NOV. 3 & 4
Pig on the Ridge: 6:30-11:30 p.m. Nov. 3 and 9 a.m. until... Nov. 4, downtown Ridgeway
Friday night is the anything-but-pork competition with cooking teams choosing the menu; Saturday is the largest BBQ team event in South Carolina with cooking teams facing off to see who is the best at whole hog and Boston butts. Samples will be available both days until the teams run out. pigontheridge.org