SC State Fair returns in 2021 after drive-through in 2020

5 mins read

From staff reports

After keeping its commitment to the community and adapting to a free, drive-through fair in 2020, the S.C. State Fair will once again welcome guests in person for 12 days – Oct. 13-24 in Columbia – of exhibits, competitions, food, rides, entertainment and the free, daily “CIRCUS at the Fair.” Fair officials are committed to following the latest COVID-19 health guidelines and ensuring a safe event for everyone.

“For more than 150 years, the South Carolina State Fair has brought families and friends together to create lifelong memories,” S.C. State Fair General Manager Nancy Smith, who served as the 2020 chair of the International Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, said in a release “As always, safety is our top priority, and we’ve taken extra precautions this year, including increased health and safety measures and a new mandatory clear bag policy.”

The 2021 S.C. State Fair will feature nearly 70 rides; a mix of stage and roving shows, including various musical shows, dance groups, animal acts, magicians, jugglers, stunt artists and more; the free daily “CIRCUS at the Fair,” which will feature fresh new acts and a never-before-seen show; and traditional favorites, including arts and crafts displays, agriculture, pig races, livestock exhibits and more.

With more than 90 food stands, guests will find everything – from innovative indulgences (fried cookie dough and donut burgers), to S.C. State Fair staples (Fiske fries and foot-long corn dogs), to lighter fare (the ultimate Greek salad) – luring all types of food lovers from across the state.

COVID-19 health precautions

The S.C. State Fair is closely following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest recommendations and strategies to prevent and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and maintain healthy business operations. This year, the S.C. State Fair will follow the latest CDC, state and local mask guidelines, have increased hand sanitation stations, offer limited contact payment options, provide increased cleaning protocols and display hygiene signage throughout the Fairgrounds.

Visit for the latest COVID-19 precautions and policies.

Other notes

A new mandatory clear bag policy: This policy is similar to those implemented throughout Columbia, S.C., and across the country, complying with a new level of security expected of large, heavily-attended events and festivals. Visit to learn more about this new policy.

Call for exhibition competitors: Each year, South Carolina’s finest agriculture, art, crafts, flowers and livestock are showcased. The call for entries is now open, and exhibition competitors are asked to submit their entries to be considered for this year’s S.C. State Fair by Sept. 1. Those wishing to compete can view the department Exhibit Guide and enter online at

Tickets: Discount admission and ride tickets go on sale Wednesday, Sept. 8 and will be available through Tuesday, Oct. 12. Purchase S.C. State Fair tickets at or stop by a participating Circle K to get your discount tickets. Visit for more information on ticket sales and general fair information.

About the S.C. State Fair

The South Carolina State Fair, a self-supporting 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was organized in 1869 and is dedicated to preserving and promoting South Carolina’s agricultural roots while supporting statewide education. In addition to the 12-day South Carolina State Fair, the charitable organization manages annual football parking, is a popular event venue and hosts Carolina Lights — Columbia’s downtown drive-through light show. The South Carolina State Fair has awarded more than $4 million in scholarships since 1997.

For more information visit or on Facebook, follow @SCStateFair on Twitter or follow @SCStateFair on Instagram.

Above: A scene from the 2018 S.C. State Fair in Columbia. Photo by Forrest Clonts/S.C. State Fair.

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