It’s fair time again, which means carney games, pop-up rides and chowing down on all things battered and fried.
We all have our favorite fair activities, but if you’re looking to branch out this year, here are 10 offbeat things to do for a nontraditional fair experience.
Create your own “Jurassic Park” moment by taking a selfie with a T-Rex. An animated Tyrannosaurus rex will be roving around the fairgrounds roaring and swishing his tail. No word on whether he prefers eating people or funnel cake. (And don’t ask him to take the pic – short arms and all.) If you miss the Big T, there will be several other dinos in the Hampton Plaza dinosaur exhibit.
2: Ice cream with hot sauce
Try the newest fair “dessert.” The Sriracha Fire and Ice Kreme is soft serve vanilla ice cream with Sriracha sauce and nacho chips. It’s topped with whipped cream. C’mon, we dare ya.
3: Fried red velvet Oreos
Oreo Cookies introduced a red velvet version with a cream cheese center earlier this year for Valentine’s Day. You could fall in love with this new fried option at the fair, rusty red color and all. If not, they have regular fried Oreos, too.
4: Silly shopping
There are certainly going to be some strange things for sale in the new Goodman building. For example, last year you could buy everything from hot tubs to concrete to a Dr. Fuji exercise machine.
Bandaloni is a one-man band who plays guitar, harmonica, drums and tambourine – all at the same time. He also can make up to four different singing voices. Worth a stop, if not just to see his insane musical contraption in action. The Bandaloni will be playing around the fairgrounds Monday through Sunday, Oct. 19-25.
6: Chicken Man
Local artist Ernest Lee, aka “The Chicken Man,” will be selling his wacky, one-of-a-kind chicken paintings in the Smallstock Barn. Can you really call yourself a South Carolinian (or a Gamecock) and not have a Chicken Man painting in your home? See Lee as he paints a mural live on the grounds Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 14-18.
This year, make it a point to actually check out the cattle arena. You might be surprised at how many different types of cows there are. (The fair features about 15 breeds.)
8: Rabbit judging
Is that a rabbit or a sweater? It’s probably hard to tell if you’re judging the Angora bunnies. Go ahead and squeal at the furry cuteness in the Smallstock Barn, along with the guinea pigs, pigeons and other animals on display.
9: Olde time demos
Stop by the Heritage Village to see how our ancestors cut wood, made syrup and prepared ice cream. It’s a chance to feel and touch America’s past, without having to drive all the way to Colonial Williamsburg.
For those of us who get our knowledge of NASCAR from “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” allow some real-life race car drivers to tell you how it’s done on NASCAR Night. Meet the drivers and pick their brains about their daredevil jobs (you know, besides driving fast and turning left). 7-9 p.m. Wednesdsay, Oct. 21 in the WIS Tent.
If you go
2015 S.C. State Fair
Admission gates and buildings:
Thursday and Friday, Oct. 15-16, Monday, Oct. 19 and Friday, Oct. 23: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 17, Tuesday through Thursday, Oct. 20-22 and Saturday, Oct. 24: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 18: noon-10 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 25: noon-9 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 15, Sunday through Thursday, Oct. 18-22 and Sunday, Oct. 25: noon-11 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 16 and Friday, Oct. 23: noon-midnight; Saturday, Oct. 17 and Saturday, Oct. 24: 11 a.m.-midnight
$10; seniors 55 and older, $7; children ages 5 and younger, and retired, active military and dependents, free.
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.
Anyone age 18 and older without a valid driver’s license and not accompanied by an adult will not be admitted after 6 p.m.
1200 Rosewood Drive