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The Rocket

The Rocket, located at the north entrance of the fairgrounds, is a Jupiter intermediate range ballistic missile designed by Dr. Wernher von Braun and built by Chrysler. Its name is Columbia, and was given to the city in the early ‘60s by the US Air Force. In 1969, the “Rocket” was erected at the fairgrounds at a cost of $10,000.

Through the years, the landmark has become a popular meeting place for guests, which has resulted in the popular phrase, “Meet me at the Rocket!”

History of the SC State Fair

Read about the SC State Fair's History 


In Greek mythology, Calliope is the Muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry; so, called from the ecstatic harmony of her voice. Hesiod and Ovid called her the "Chief of all Muses".

For more than 30 years, visitors to the SC State Fair were treated to the eloquent sounds of the calliope as they entered the South gate. Organist Pat Wilson, who passed away in 2019, was a well-known fixture as she delighted fair guests with a variety of tunes and requests. Among the former kindergarten teacher’s favorite audience members were statewide kindergarten students who she entertained with her special rendition of the hokey pokey.

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Wilson was not one to play favorites and never played the fight song of either The University of South Carolina or Clemson University without giving the other school equal time.

The calliope traveled across the state as it was featured in various parades, including the Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade in Columbia.

Antique Fire Truck & New Fire Truck

You are viewing a 1951 American LaFrance Ladder Truck, out of Babylon, NY (which is on Long Island). This truck features an 85 foot aerial ladder. It was in service from 1951-2000.

As a young child, Cotton Erskine always had a fascination with fire trucks. Cotton was a volunteer fireman in earlier years.

Thank you Cotton for sharing this historical fire truck with us.

Our thanks to the Columbia Fire Department for the loan of the new fire truck.


Circus at the Fair

Remember last year when the circus was in town? The SC State Fair headlining entertainment was a free daily “CIRCUS at the Fair”. Each show featured a variety of stunning 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.

We plan to offer this riveting entertainment again at the 2021 SC State Fair, October 13-24. Until then, we hope you enjoy this “taste of the Circus at the Fair”!

Amerian Heritage Museum

Heritage Village

View the wonders of yesteryear in the Heritage Village and find a multi-dimensional display of entertainment, crafts, the Philip Simmons Blacksmith Guild, draft mules, donkeys, and a sow with her piglets.

The daily life of early South Carolina settlers was very different from the present. The family unit had to work together to prosper in this time of simpler means. Each family member played a distinct role.

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The mother made sure the household ran smoothly and was responsible for the daily household chores and other daily necessities. A pioneer mother didn't have the time to be bored. Her typical day included activities such as cooking for her family, preserving fruit and vegetables, making soap and candles, and sewing clothing for her husband and her children. It was the mother's job to spin yarn, weave cloth, take care of the vegetable garden, and tend to the chickens. If necessary, the mother would even take on the role of teacher to her children. She was also responsible for passing down folk rhymes, stories and songs to them.

When the family first settled, it was the father's job to clear the land and build the home. After the home was built, the father's job of providing for and protecting his family was endless. Typical chores of the father consisted of plowing and planting the farmland and hunting and fishing for food. The father spent much of his time performing the essential outdoor chores and teaching his sons the skills required to care for a family in early rural South Carolina. Skills such as loading a gun, using an axe, saw or knife, and caring for livestock, were all necessary for survival.

Pioneer children did not have as much free time as children today. They would often spend their days performing chores around the home in aid of their mothers and fathers. Boys would spend time with their fathers learning how to hunt, fish and trap wild animals. Girls would spend time with their mothers learning how to cook, sew and clean. During the day, the older children would also attend school. When the children did have free time, they would spend it playing by themselves or with others. Girls would often play with their dolls or pretend to be in school. Boys would often get together and play games. The weekends brought many joys to children. Often on Saturdays, the family would hitch a horse to the wagon and head into town for the day. On Sundays, the family would go to church, and the children would get to play with other children their same age.


The Philip Simmons Blacksmith Guild

The Philip Simmons Blacksmith Guild was organized exclusively for educational purposes to encourage and facilitate the training of blacksmiths; to disseminate information about sources of material and equipment; to expose the art of blacksmithing to the public, and to serve as a center of information about blacksmithing for the general public, architects, interior designers, and other interested groups. Demonstrations are open to the public. Guild members participate in several events throughout the year such as Ashley on the River at Magnolia Plantation in Charleston and the Renaissance Fair in Myrtle Beach.

2020 Carolina_Lights

Carolina Lights Drive-Through

The second annual Carolina Lights Drive-Through will be Dec. 5-24, 26-27 (closed Dec. 25) in the Lexington Medical Center Fair Park. We’re adding more decorations this year, so plan to bring your family and friends for a magical drive through a winter wonderland. Find details here

Scholarship Banner

"Ride of Your Life" Scholarship Display

The SC State Fair awards more than $300,000 annually in scholarships to graduating seniors each year through the “Ride of Your Life” scholarship program.

Since its inception in 1997, the SC State Fair has awarded over $4 million in “Ride of Your Life” scholarships.



FRED is the SC State Fair roving ticket booth. FRED is an acronym for Follow the Fun, Ride the Rides, Eat the Food, Dazzle the Mind. This ticket booth on wheels can be found at numerous locations across the Midlands at various times leading up to each SC State Fair. Visitors to the booth can spin a wheel for a chance to win a prize.