Gamecock football fans and State Fair patrons long ago developed a game plan for handling the expected battle for parking spaces this weekend: patience and planning.
On Saturday, they'll find the same playbook useful as they make their way to the fair or Williams-Brice Stadium for USC's 7 p.m. kickoff against Vanderbilt.
"I think that we've done this enough that they know by now what to expect," said State Fair manager Gary Goodman.
USC home games have fallen on fair weekends 23 of the last 25 years. Last year, much of the anticipated traffic trouble surrounding the USC-LSU game never materialized.
"From the standpoint of football and the fair, it probably worked as well as it's ever worked," Goodman said.
Even so, fans are being advised to leave early and be patient again this time around.
Traffic along the roadways leading to Williams-Brice will be at its normal peak for game days in the hours leading up to kickoff but could be busier than normal earlier in the day as many head to the fair.
As for parking, there will be no reserved Gamecock Club spots at the fairgrounds Saturday. The parking lot opens at 8 a.m. Parking is free. Spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
That means the football fans can still park among the fairgoers - if spaces are available.
In fact, Gamecock fans can tailgate in the parking lot - but tents, awnings and grills are not allowed.
People can always visit the fair and go to the game, too. Football fans with game tickets will be admitted to the fair free between 2 and 5 p.m.
Traffic will be heavy again for several hours after the game as people leave the stadium and the fairgrounds. That's when motorists could experience some of the biggest delays.
The State Fair likely will take a hit on attendance this weekend. Goodman said the last Saturday of the fair is usually one of its busiest days, with attendance regularly topping 75,000. But that number usually drops by between 15,000 or 20,000 people when there is a home game.
Still, it's a clash that is largely unavoidable.
The fair normally falls in the middle of USC's Southeastern Conference schedule. But the schedule is determined by the SEC office, and USC has little control over its home dates.