The aroma of Fiske fries, elephant ears and cotton candy is in the air... That can only mean one thing: South Carolina State Fair kicks off this week! The Palmetto State's largest event runs from October 12-23, 2011 this year. Make a weekend (or week day) of your fair experience with FREE general admission tickets and hot deals on hotel packages from $89 to $129 at Clarion Hotel Downtown Columbia, Courtyard by Marriott Downtown at USC, Columbia Marriott Hotel, and DoubleTree by Hilton. A limited number of hotel packages are available, so be sure to reserve yours before they fill up.

There are plenty of reasons to extend your stay, from the 'famously hot' cuisine at our local restaurants to our top attractions, museums, world-class zoo, and South Carolina's only national park. See what else is happening while you're in town on Columbia's top calendar of events. EdVenture Children's Museum even has a special admission offer.

Packages and special offers are available at

'Find Your Happy' at the fair and share! Post your photos and videos on our Facebook wall, tweet them on Twitter or add them to our pool on Flickr.