“Find your happy” at the state fair

It’s the final countdown to the South Carolina State Fair 2013.  If you have not been to the S.C. State fair, you are missing out.

Hundreds of thousands of people attend the fair annually. It is controlled chaos and a roller coaster ride for the senses. As you make your way around the crowded fairgrounds, you will hear the sounds of high-pitched screaming and laughter along with the ringing and beeping of carnival games. The tantalizing aroma of fried doughnuts and sweet kettle corn will gradually give way to the earthy smell of farm animals and sweet-scented hay as you stroll through the agricultural exhibits and the children’s petting zoo. Be sure to make your way to see the clumsy baby ducks make their way down the water slide. If you’re lucky, you may even run into everyone’s favorite deputy sheriff, Barney Fife.

There are enough rides to keep you entertained for hours. Don’t miss the traditional rides like bumper cars, Ferris wheels, rainbow-colored slides and haunted houses. Another traditional ride is the sky lift, which carries you from one side of the fair to the other, allowing you to take in the whole atmosphere and look out over the entire fairground. For the more adventurous guests, there are thrilling rides like the Alpine Bobs, Fire Ball, Matterhorn, a swing tower, Pharaoh’s Fury, Polar Express and the Zipper. These rides may leave you with your head spinning and your stomach churning, but it’s all part of the experience.

The exhibition buildings are filled with an endless array of booths selling crafts, food, art and other goods. The fair usually displays a gigantic sand sculpture in one building, but this year they will have two because they are such a hit with adults and children alike.

If you are tired of standing on your feet there are plenty of free stage shows to give you a little break. This year the fair will be hosting performances such as hypnotist Ron Diamond, whose hilarious hypnosis shows have volunteers eagerly lining up for half an hour before each show begins. You can also enjoy the “Swifty Swine” racing pigs, a Border Collie exhibition, “Capital City Cloggers” and NASCAR night.

If you are into music, the fair is bringing in plenty of noteworthy entertainment this year like The Band Perry, Hunter Hayes, NEEDTOBREATHE and Justin Moore.  Tickets for the concerts can be purchased in advance or the day you arrive.

Lastly, we can’t forget about the fair food. Everywhere you turn there is a diverse selection on the menu that will appeal to anyone. The many tempting treats include: red candy apples, melt-in-your-mouth cotton candy, foot long corndogs, Greek gyros, doughnut burgers, elephant ears covered in powdered sugar and turkey legs. Then there’s the fried food: deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried Pepsi, deep-fried mushrooms and pretty much anything you could think of frying

This year some bizarre new additions appear on the menu including a mac’n’cheese burger and a redneck burger. The redneck burger is made of bacon, bologna, baked beans and potato sticks.

Be sure to stay after the sun goes down, when the S.C. State Fair really shines. The fair overflows with life as it is illuminated by thousands of brightly colored lights, helping you enjoy the best the fair has to offer.

 

When: Oct. 9 through Oct. 20

Where: The fairgrounds in Columbia, S.C.

Admission: Tickets can be bought in advance at a discounted price.

$1 entry on opening day

College day—Oct. 10: all college students are admitted for free

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