The South Carolina State Fair Returns Stronger and Safer than Ever

The South Carolina State Fair returns stronger and safer this fall in Columbia, S.C., Oct. 13-24, 2021. 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 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.

“We strongly encourage all fairgoers to evaluate their own potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 before choosing to attend.”

     – Nancy Smith

“For more than 150 years, the South Carolina State Fair has brought families and friends together to create lifelong memories,” says S.C. State Fair General Manager Nancy Smith, who served as the 2020 chair of the International Association of Fairs and Exhibitions. “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.”

With nearly 70 rides, this year’s S.C. State Fair is sure to create special moments — from sky-high thrillers to family-friendly fun, including two new kiddie rides, Dumbo and Tea Cup. A mix of stage and roving shows will entertain patrons, including various musical shows, dance groups, animal acts, magicians, jugglers, stunt artists and more. Back by popular demand is the free daily “CIRCUS at the Fair,” which will feature fresh new acts and a never-before-seen show. Traditional favorites also will return, 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. A variety of new food items will also be introduced — as well as the expansion of the S.C. State Fair’s cookie kitchen. Warm cookies and cold milk await guests in the newly expanded cookie kitchen, now located in the Rosewoods Salon.

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.

“The health of our guests is of the upmost importance, and we ask that each guest does their part by following our latest event policies,” said Smith. “We strongly encourage all fairgoers to evaluate their own potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 before choosing to attend, knowing that vaccines remain the best protection from the virus.”

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present, and the S.C. State Fair asks that fairgoers help protect themselves and others by following the event’s safety protocols — as well as state and local public health recommendations and mandates. Visit for the latest COVID-19 precautions and policies.