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Free drive-though SC State Fair will include animals, exhibits, food

Visitors will be able to ride through exhibits and attractions from their vehicles. According to the fair, the whole route will take about 20 minutes.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina State Fair has announced details about it's first ever drive-through fair because of COVID-19. 

According to the SC State Fair, fairgoers will be able to experience some of the agriculture, arts, entertainment and food available at the fair each year- from the safety of their cars. 

The decision to turn the annual state fair into a free drive-through was made because of health concerns surrounding the coronavirus. 

The drive-through event will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 20 and Wednesday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m. – 8p.m. The fair food will be available for purchase through a separate drive-through with extended dates, Tuesday, Oct. 20 – Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. You can find more details here. 

“This is our way of giving back to the community — this year has been difficult for all of us,” said General Manager Nancy Smith, who also serves as the current chair of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE). “We hope that folks will experience some of the wide-eyed wonder that they come to the State Fair for each year.”

Visitors will be able to ride through exhibits and attractions from their vehicles. According to the fair, the whole route will take about 20 minutes. To ensure safety, visitors will not be allowed to get out of their vehicles. 

Visitors will enter at the North Gate on Rosewood Drive near the fair’s historic Rocket.

During the drive-through, fairgoers will be able to see cattle, swine, goats, chicken, draft mules and donkeys. The S.C. Department of Agriculture will also showcase farm equipment from throughout the years. Exhibits will display blue-ribbon produce and flowers, quilts and specialty cakes.

Other 'nostalgic' exhibits will include the heritage village, an antique fire truck and memories from the popular CIRCUS at the Fair that debuted at the State Fair’s 150th anniversary in 2019. 

Other sites on the drive-through will include art by the ‘Chicken Man,’ the sounds of the calliope, Thomas Humphries’ Fighting Stallions and Metal Band sculptures, the milking parlor and the famous Jupiter Rocket. Student art will also be on display, along with an exhibit in celebration of the State Fair’s Ride of Your Life Scholarship recipients 

RELATED: Student artwork wanted for SC State Fair

The SC State Fair will also continue other traditions, including PA announcements, the playing of the national anthem at noon and the raising of the American flag.

“Our team is working hard to keep the traditions of the State Fair alive while prioritizing safety,” said Smith. “For over 150 years, South Carolinians have come together to celebrate our state’s agriculture, arts, history and more. This year’s celebration will look different, but will have all of the spirit and joy as years past.”

Along the route, fairgoers will be able to follow along online here and via QR codes seen during the drive-through. Cars can even turn on a Spotify playlist of bands that have visited the fair over the years. 

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If anyone would like to share fair memories, they can send them to favoritememory@scstatefair.org and view the shared photos here. 

Traditional food will also be available in a different section of the fair, Oct. 20-24. Guests will be able to drive into the Lexington Medical Center Fair Park on the fairgrounds to purchase sweet and savory fair food. The fair food vendors have extended the dates to Oct. 20 – 24, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

RELATED: South Carolina State Fair becomes two day drive-thru event due to COVID-19

Guests will enter Gate 6 on George Rogers Boulevard, then wind through the parking lot until they reach six separate lines for fair food, all of which will have the same offerings, in an effort to keep the lines moving quickly and efficiently. The following fair food will be available:

  • Fiske fries
  • Corn dogs
  • Sausage sandwiches
  • Turkey Legs
  • Funnel cakes
  • Elephant ears
  • Cotton candy
  • Candy apples
  • Caramel corn
  • Pepsi brand 20 oz. bottled drinks and water