If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC it’s about that time for the State Fair!
The South Carolina State Fair starts Oct. 11. And for 12 days, it’s literally all fun and games – and food. So much fried food.
What’s new this year?
BulletTrain roller coaster: This ride climbs 33 feet high before taking a series of sharp turns and drops.
Buffalo chicken gyros: Greek marinated chicken with a cream cheese and cheddar cheese blend, mixed with buffalo sauce, served in a pita with lettuce, tomato, onions and either ranch dressing or tzatziki sauce (AP Concessions).
Southern catfish sundae: French fries topped with fried catfish sticks, a spicy remoulade sauce and tartar sauce (DeAnna’s Concessions).
Fried bologna burger: An Angus burger topped with pimento cheese, fried bologna and chili (Timmons Concession).
3B burger: A burger, bacon and brisket with provolone cheese on garlic toast (Carousel Foods).
What can I ride?
Nearly 70 rides from North American Midway Entertainment, including Sky Glider, Cliff Hanger, Haunted Mansion, Himalaya, Ring of Fire, Tilt-A-Whirl, Frog Hopper, Merry Go Round and, of course, the iconic Ferris wheel.
Ride vouchers are $25 through Tuesday, Oct. 10; $30 during the fair; and $35 on weekends.
Ride vouchers: Exchange a voucher for a pay-one-price wristband at the fairgrounds to ride unlimited rides all day. Or, exchange for 30 ride coupons.
- In advance (through Oct. 10): $25.
- During the fair: $30.
- Weekends: $35.
Midway express access pass: Gets you to the front of every ride line. $15.
What’s on stage?
Brothers Osborne, a country duo with a bit of a Trace Adkins sound. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11. $15.
Keith Sweat, a smooth R&B singer with a four-decade music career. 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13. $15.
Chris Young, an award-winning country star. 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16. $30.
ZZ Top, a legendary rock band known for songs such as “Sharp Dressed Man” and impressive beards. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18. $25.
TobyMac, a popular Christian hip-hop artist. 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20. $15.
Sabrina Carpenter, a Disney Channel star (“Girl Meets World”) turned pop singer. 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. $15.
Concert tickets are available online only at and include fair admission.
Also look out for various other concerts throughout the fair including Blend acapella quartet, the Rock Bottom Boys, Two Way Crossing, SupaFun Band, Bandaloni and more.
What else is there to see?
Heritage Village: Visit “yesteryear” and experience the Medicine Show entertainers, a working tinsmith, blacksmith, potter and wooden bowl turner.
Camel Kingdom: Get a look at blue-eyed, black-and-white spotted, white and traditional brown camels, and even ride one.
Balloonopolis: More than 10,000 balloons come together into a stunning scene over the course of the fair.
Sandscapes: Seventy-five tons of sand molded into sculptures is pretty cool.
Cowtown: An old-timey creamery where you can help prepare cow milk by hand and get in on the process of making butter, ice cream and cheese.
FOLKFabulous: Hands-on art making, parades, jam sessions and storytelling are part of this multicultural exhibit.
Hi-Pockets Parade and Stilt Circus: Look up! Stilt-walking characters will rove the fairgrounds.
Kachunga & The Alligator: Watch this bushman wrangle an alligator with his bare hands.
Steve Brogan, comedian and ventriloquist: Enjoy an entertaining cast of characters and quick wit.
“The Rubber Chicken Show”: A comedy show featuring juggling and, yes, rubber chickens.
Flippin’: Mechanical innovation and flipping artistry combine in this acrobatics show.
Border collie exhibition: Watch these whip-smart dogs follow commands and whistles to herd sheep and ducks.
Swifty Swine racing and swimming pigs: A fair favorite every year, these are some of the fastest pigs around.
“Barnyard Cackle Review”: A kids’ show featuring Rocky Da Rooster and his singing hens.
Ron Diamond, magician and hypnotist: Find yourself in awe – or in a trance – at this popular show.
Student and fine art: The state’s most talented elementary, middle and high school students show off their best artworks. Plus, amateur and professional artists put their stuff on display. See who gets the ribbons.
Flower show: Award-winning roses, camellias, potted plants and more – oh, my!
Agriculture and livestock: You know what it is – cows, chickens, rabbits, giant pumpkins and everything in between. The fair’s got it all.
Most importantly, what’s good to eat?
Fair time is still one of the only times of the year you can get a doughnut burger, which your doctor is probably thankful for.
More than 90 food stands will keep you well-fed.
Other standby fair faves include Fiske fries, impossibly long corndogs, funnel cakes and elephant ears, giant turkey legs, roasted corn and (oh, yesss) fried Oreos, Reese’s, Snickers, cookie dough, etc.
They’ll all be there.
Just be sure to ride your rides, THEN eat.
Some food vendors accept credit and debit cards, but some accept only cash, so come prepared, or look for one of several ATMs available at the fairgrounds.
When can I go?
- Noon-10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11.
- 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, and Friday, Oct. 13.
- 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.
- Noon-10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15.
- 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16.
- 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, through Thursday, Oct. 19.
- 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20.
- 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21.
- Noon-9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22.
How much does it cost to get in?
- Advance admission (through Tuesday, Oct. 10): $7.
- At the gates: $10.
- Military: Free.
- Children 5 and younger: Free.
Are there any good deals?
Lunch: Between noon and 2 p.m. each weekday, get your $10 admission refunded at the ticket booth. Cash only.
$1 admission: On Wednesday, Oct. 11. Cash only.
College students: Free admission for students with a valid college ID on Monday, Oct. 16.
Seniors: Free Ferris wheel rides for those 55 and older on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Wait, where is it, again?
1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia.
The South Carolina State Fair runs Oct. 11-22, 2017.