COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina State Fair is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and that means new attractions. There will be much to see and do, and guests can plan their trip ahead of time to maximize the fun.
Tickets and Discounts
Admission to the South Carolina State Fair costs $10. Ride vouchers, which allow visitors to ride as many rides as they want, are $30 during the week. On weekends (Friday through Saturday), the vouchers are $35 when purchased at the fair. There are a few ways to bring down costs.
Visitors can purchase discount tickets through October 8 before the fair begins. Admission tickets cost $7 ahead of time, and ride vouchers cost $25. On the first day of the fair, admission costs $1.
Active and retired military and their dependents receive free admission, provided that dependents 10 years old and above also have identification. Seniors 55 years and up can buy discount tickets for $7 at the fair.
A few ride coupon packages are available at the fairgrounds as well. One coupon costs $1.25, but guests may purchase 22 for $25, saving $2.50. 55 coupons cost $60, saving $8.75.
Parking costs $5 per vehicle, and guests should be prepared to pay with cash. The fair warns guests that lots may close as they become full.
Handicap parking is available at Gate 6, and senior groups can pull up beside Gate 1 to drop off groups.
Visitors can check out the fair's website for a map of all parking lots.
There are a few new rides at the fair this year, including its largest Ferris wheel ever. Other rides include crowd favorites from previous years, such as the Star Dancer, the Double Decker Merry-Go-Round, the Twister, the Morbid Mansion, the Flivver, the Red Baron and the Love Bug.
Those eager to bypass lines can purchase a Midway Express Access Pass for $15 at the fairgrounds. Be sure to check out height requirements for the rides.
The fair has new foods this year, including a Chili Mac Attack Sundae, Daley's Double Dog Corndog, Bop's Kettle Corn, a Poppin Gourmet Burger and a special Birthday Cake Funnel Cake to celebrate the fair's birthday.
People craving fair food can take advantage of the lunch deal. Every weekday except for opening day, guests can purchase refundable $10 lunch tickets and buy a meal inside the fair from any vendor between noon and 2:00 p.m. Guests can enjoy their food before returning the lunch ticket to the ticket booth for a refund. The offer is cash only, and guests must remember to return their vouchers before 2:00 p.m.
Those looking for the dining areas can refer to the map on the fair's website.
All of the shows at the South Carolina State Fair will be free this year in honor of the organization's 150th anniversary.
Attractions include a daily circus, various musicians and a hypnotist. Other performers can be found among the fairground crowds interacting with guests.
The fair showcases competition art, food and livestock. Judging results of the competitions are available online, and visitors who aren't busy riding rides or eating funnel cake can drop into the various buildings to check out the attractions.
The fair offers military and senior discounts, handicap parking and a drop off spot for senior group buses. Additionally, those who require strollers, wagons, wheelchairs or scooters can rent those at the fair.
Strollers cost $10 for two hours or $15 for the day, and wagons cost $15 for two hours or $20 for the day. Wheelchairs cost $15 for two hours or $20 for the day, but one may make a $15 deposit and present a government issued ID to receive a refund if the wheelchair is returned on time. Scooters cost $45 for the day, but a refund is also available for those who pay a $25 deposit and present government identification.
A full calendar of South Carolina State Fair events can be found on their website.