South Carolina State Fair

South Carolina State Fair is an annual fair held every October in the state's capital city of Columbia. As with just about any state fair, this is a great thing to do if you want to enjoy some all out fun, games, rides, and food.

South Carolina State Fair Facts

South Carolina State Fair occurs over nearly two weeks (usually beginning around Columbus Day of October 12), combining the traditional agricultural events and competitions of harvest festivals, modern concerts featuring national headliners, carnival rides, and midway games. There are scores of food outlets offering everything from cotton candy and hot dogs to meatballs, pizza, and down home barbecue. It dates to 1839, when a state agricultural society was first formed.

South Carolina State Fair Location

The physical address of the South Carolina State Fair 2023 Grounds is 1200 Rosewood Drive. The grounds are located in the southern part of the city, right next to the airport. It is near major interstate highways, I-20, I-26, I-77, and I-95. There are several permanent buildings on the grounds, and a number of agriculturally themed events, concerts, clinics, workshops, and exhibitions are held there throughout the year. To get here, take I-77 to Exit 5 toward William Brice Stadium. Keep right at the fork and merge onto S Carolina 48 W/Rosewood Drive. The fairgrounds are on the right.

Do note that there is also an "Upper SC State Fair," which is held in Greenville over the first two weeks in September. Even though the word "state" is in its name, this is actually a county fair, albeit a large one. As in many states around the US, smaller county fairs are held before the bigger state fair. Many of the competition winners and best performers go on to participate in the state fair at a later date.

South Carolina State Fair Tickets

SC State Fair tickets are extremely affordable, making this a very family-friendly event. On opening day, entry is only a buck. You can buy ride vouchers for less than $1 each, and there is a "Pay One Price" (POP) ticket that gets you into the fair and provides unlimited rides on any weekday for a full week. SC State Fair Tickets for concerts are also extremely inexpensive when compared to music festivals around the country. You can see headliners like Miranda Lambert, Boyz II Men, and Darius Rucker for very reasonable ticket prices, and lesser known performers come even cheaper.

South Carolina State Fair Lodging

SC State Fair tickets do not include camping privileges, even though this is a place where recreational vehicles are allowed to "camp" overnight on Saturdays when there are University of South Carolina (USC) home games at the nearby stadium. There are, however, a number of excellent family camping areas within about an hour's drive of the city and the South Carolina State Fair Grounds.

For Columbia hotels and motels, you have a very wide choice of accommodations. The two most desirable areas are the historic district, where you will find the majority of the city's attractions, and the area around the USC campus and stadium, which is closest to the fairgrounds. For a taste of both districts, you might want to try the elegant Hilton Columbia Center at 924 Senate Street, which is within walking distance of the university campus and all of the restaurants, shops and boutiques in the historic district. Additionally, it's only about a mile away from the prestigious Riverbanks Zoo. There are also a number of charming bed and breakfast inns in this area, many of which are located in historic buildings.

Image: Kim.Deslandes (flickr)

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