What is your family’s favorite fair attraction? The Border Collie Herding Exhibition showcases this dog breed’s incredible intelligence and is a show your kids will love. The friendly animals at the petting zoo are sure to be a draw, and they range from domestic to exotic at this display.
FOLKFabulous@theFair is a festival within the fair that celebrates the talents and culture of artists who hold workshops and demonstrations. Sandscapes is an exhibition of sculptures made with sand, tons of it.
Competitive horticulture displays are presented and judged, while livestock shows feature rare horses. Members of 4-H work with their animals for prizes and well-deserved recognition.
There is history to be learned, too. Watch a bowl being turned and a broom being bound. Visit a blacksmith’s shop and witness a re-enactment of life in days gone by. After an educational session, take the kids on a thrilling carnival ride.
You can save a few dollars by buying your tickets early but if even if you do not, the entrance fee is a bargain at around $10. Seniors have discounted prices, and children under 6 and military members are free. Check www.scstatefair.org for admission specials and ride coupon deals.
Whether coming from Charlotte, Greenville, Charleston, or another starting point, set the GPS coordinates for a smooth ride through the curves and turns through South Carolina. The website can give detailed directions, and for up to date road and weather alerts, check the government-run page for the state. It includes links to current advisories. When you approach the fair, keep your eye open for signage directing you to the parking options.
Choose your preferred parking gate before heading into Columbia. Parking is a steal at $5, with proceeds going to a scholarship program. Gates will close when the lots are full, so arrive early to ensure a spot. Take note of your parking location before heading through the ticket entrance. After a long day, the lots may all begin to look the same. If you are in need of ADA-accessible parking, head to Gate 6.
Columbia has a bus system with brightly colored buses that you can’t miss. Check the Columbia public transit maps for bus numbers and times. Alternately, take a taxi or ridesharing service from an easy to park location where you can leave your rig for the day.
There is no onsite camping at the South Carolina State Fair. You can find terrific accommodations close by, however, in Columbia or points around the area. Have a family discussion as to what type of campground they’d like to try and make a group decision on the location.
RVers can enjoy camping in many forms in this gorgeous part of North America. Find a secluded spot for silent, tranquil nights if you like to camp self-contained. If full-amenities are more your cup of tea, then look to state parks that offer full hookups, hot showers and a lake for swimming. This will provide the creature comforts that you are used to while still allowing for an experience that is open to exploration.
The South Carolina State Fair allows strollers and has them for rent if need be. Wheelchairs can be rented, too. Segways, rollerblades, skateboards, and bicycles are not allowed in the fairgrounds. Wear your comfiest shoes so that your feet can cover every inch of the event.
Pack for all types of weather when vacationing in South Carolina. In October, evenings can be cool, and a warm sweater will be a good addition to your day bag. Wear jeans or shorts and a t-shirt to the fair, and bring along a floppy hat to protect your ears and neck from the sun. Wash and wear clothing is always the best camping apparel, and it never hurts to throw a few extra items in the RV closet space.
Expect your bag to be checked as you enter the South Carolina State Fair. Backpacks are not allowed but a small day pack with sunscreen and a refillable water bottle should be all you need. Forbidden items include outside food and drink and selfie sticks. Your camp gear list should be topped with necessities like toiletries, flashlights for treks to enjoy the beautiful sky at night, and a small radio to keep you up to date with the weather.
For safety at a large venue, make a plan with the kids as to how the day will go. Teens can arrange a meeting spot with you, but advise them on practical safety rules like sticking together, keeping wallets in a safe place, and not flashing cash. Back at the campground, keep your space clean and safe for kids and animals alike. Stow trash in a secure spot to not attract wildlife that should not be consuming human food.
Busy days call for easy evening meals. Scrambled eggs and toast, veggie packets, one-pot stews and soups, and grilled cheese sandwiches with all the fixings will sate hearty appetites. S’mores for dessert will be a hit. When stocking the camper, take inventory of spices, utensils, and cleaning supplies. Bring a cast-iron pan for meals over the fire and bring along the camp stove, too.
Southern barbecue is a can’t-be-missed restaurant outing. Ribs, wings, and chops are cooked to perfection in any number of eateries in Columbia. Crab cakes and filet mignon are options for a longer sit-down meal. Lobster and oysters are popular picks, and if you seek a fast meal stop for burgers topped with fried green tomatoes.
Over 90 food vendors await hungry bellies at the South Carolina State Fair. Fair food is hard to resist, so keep breakfasts light and take your fill at lunchtime. Buy the kids a treat of kettle corn. Local artists sell crafts that are sure to delight. Support their efforts and take a unique souvenir of your stay in the state home with you.
Local police and deputies from the sheriff’s department are out in full force to assist and ensure a good time. They will be checking for alcohol, loitering, and violation of fair rules. Surveillance cameras are in place. Anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed to attend the fair after designated hours unless accompanied by an adult. Youth may have to show ID.
As with any outdoor event, be prepared to enjoy the festivities rain or shine. Pack the RV with rain gear for everyone because looking for frogs and worms after inclement weather is a fun camping pastime. If rain visits the fair, pop into an exhibition building. Bring an umbrella just in case. Sunny days will require the application of sunscreen more than once, so be sure to have plenty on hand.
First aid stations are open from much of the day, and the sheriff’s department is at your disposal 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency. You can bring your certified service animal to the South Carolina State Fair. Make sure they are wearing identifiable certification gear. Pharmacy choices are as close as ten minutes by car from the fairgrounds and may easily be found on the way to many campgrounds in the area.