The circus will be in town along with a giant Ferris wheel, concerts and special exhibits all to celebrate the 150thanniversary of the South Carolina State Fair.

Be prepared to celebrate the Rocket’s 50th birthday, enjoy more than 70 rides and experience fair favorites like art and flower exhibits, music and entertainment. Here’s your guide to creating prize winning memories at this special anniversary edition of the South Carolina State Fair.

Circus at the Fair

Headlining this year’s fair is a free circus with three one-hour long shows each day under a 48-foot big top tent, beside the Ellison Building near the South Gate entrance. Shows begin at 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and are included with an admission ticket. Each show features a variety of entertainment from a renowned lineup of traditional and unique circus acts including the High Wire, the Wheel of Destiny, the Globe of Death, the Trained Dog Show, Duo Silks aerialists, America’s Show Camels, and a dazzling international cast with Ringmaster Ian Garden.

New Rides

The 150 Celebration Wheel ride will make its debut for the first time in North American at the South Carolina State Fair! High above the big top tent will be a 150-foot giant Ferris wheel that includes 36 temperature-regulated gondolas. Each gondola carries six people on a journey to new heights never seen before at the South Carolina State Fair.

New rides include the Star Dancer, a spectacular claw that swings 360 degrees; the Double-Decker Merry-Go-Round, a menagerie of zebras, elephants, rabbits and some spinning bowls for the fearless; Morbid Mansion, filled with frights and creepy corners; Twister, dual-motion cars on an elevating platform; Flivver, a fun, leisurely ride on winding tracks; Love Bug, a gentler, kid-friendly version of the Himalaya; and the Red Baron, in which riders will squeal in delight as they go up and down, pretending to fly.

Free Concerts

New this year, free concerts featuring a wide variety of genres will be held on stages throughout the fairgrounds, with popular acts on the Pepsi Place stage including The Tams, The Restoration, The Latin Caravan, Tokyo Joe, JJ Hairston, Reggie Sullivan, Eloveation, Swim in the Wild and more.

Special Exhibits

The State Fair continues to keep its agricultural roots alive while offering fun, food, education and a variety of competitive exhibits. This year’s 150th anniversary State Fair is themed “Prize-Winning Memories” and will complement a long list of traditional favorites with several special offerings:

  • The United States Postal Service (USPS) is offering a special pictorial cancellation stamp.
  • A published history of the fair has been released in the new book, “Meet Me at the Rocket” by historian Rodger Stroup and will be sold during the fair in the Cantey Building. 
  • Guests are invited to enjoy 150th anniversary cake as the gates open Oct. 9, while supplies last near the South Gate entrance.
  • Originally erected in 1969, the iconic Rocket will be decorated as a birthday candle in celebration of its 50th birthday, and around 5:45 p.m. each afternoon visitors are encouraged to wish the iconic piece of art a happy birthday and watch it light up.
  • This year’s Sandscapes features a 150th anniversary-themed display as the talented sand artists transform 75 tons of sand into a creative anniversary wonder — featured daily in the Goodman Building.

The South Carolina State Fair opens on Wednesday, Oct. 9 and continues through Sunday, Oct. 20.