When most people think of the South Carolina State Fair, exhibits, fair food, rides and farm animals often come to mind. But there’s so much more. In keeping with this year’s theme of “To the Fair and Beyond,” here are some new and unexpected finds at the fair this year.

Sensory Friendly Morning

The lights and sounds of the South Carolina State Fair will be a little lower from 10 a.m.-noon on Thursday, Oct. 13, when the S.C. State Fair hosts its first ever Sensory-Friendly Morning. During this time, the S.C. State Fair will create an environment designed with children and adults with autism or sensory processing disorders in mind. The goal for the morning is to enable families who have a member, whether child or adult, with special needs to visit, explore and enjoy the fair. Visitors can explore the animals, get on rides with no music or lights and enjoy quiet and more peaceful strolling acts. Food vendors open at 11 a.m. and the new cookies and cream topped funnel cakes and elephant ears may be the perfect treat.

Museum of the Moon Exhibit

This exhibition features installation artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. The artwork is a large inflated, spherical moon, measuring six meters in diameter. Across the surface of the sphere, the moon features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. The moon is suspended overhead and up lighted with blue lighting, to enhance the atmosphere. The moon is also lit from within, adding a bright white glow from its center. The exhibition will feature surround sound and spoken word from interviews and original recordings from the 1969 moon landings.

Enhance your experience by munching on a Fried Moon Pie – a new addition to the fair food menu this year.

Art Exhibits

The S.C. State Fair offers an impressive display of the state’s best amateur and professional artists. Featured categories include ceramics, pottery, aqua painting, oil painting, drawing, mixed media, prints, photography, digital art, open media and sculpture. Don’t miss the works of some of the state’s most talented young artists also on display. This year’s student art will feature Art of the Camellia, which blends art and horticulture to offer an added educational benefit for students in grades K-12. Looking for a more upscale snack to take in the exhibits? Try the new Steak Poutine Sundae –fresh cut fries layered with fresh cheese curds covered in hot Gravy and topped with Sirloin Steak.

Circus at the Fair

Having a circus inside the state fair is pure magic. The free, daily CIRCUS at the Fair is returning for a third year and will feature a brand-new tent, fresh acts and a never-before seen show! The CIRCUS is a 40-minute show that will take place three times each day at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. To make the experience even more refreshing, grab a Watermelon Iced Tea –a fruity twist to beloved iced tea.

The S.C. State Fair will be held Oct. 12 -23 at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds