November 14, 2023
The South Carolina State Fair proudly presents the much-anticipated return of Carolina Lights, its annual downtown drive-through holiday light show. The Lexington Medical Center Fair Park at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland starting Friday, Dec. 8 through Sunday, Dec. 24 (closed on Mondays).
Now in its fifth year, the holiday drive-through light experience will feature more than 100 individual LED light displays meticulously synchronized to holiday music spanning a nearly two-mile journey inside the fairgrounds. Guests will be captivated by an array of enchanting scenes such as dinosaurs, gingerbread soccer, Santa Claus, Elf on the Shelf, tunnel of lights, the 12-days of Christmas, plus many more surprises. The S.C. State Fair’s popular chocolate chip cookies, milk and Pepsi products will be available for purchase. New this year, dog treats will also be available for purchase.
“We are thrilled to herald the holiday season with the return of Carolina Lights at the fairgrounds,” says S.C. State Fair General Manager Nancy Smith. “A beloved South Carolina tradition, this year’s presentation will once again feature the cherished classics and include some new and dazzling displays.”
While driving through the light show, guests can tune their radio to 88.9 FM to listen to music that synchronizes with the light displays.
Special Day Promotions
On Wednesday, Dec. 13, active and retired military and their dependents (with proper military identification cards) will be able to purchase a car pass for 50% off at the gate.
On Tuesday, Dec. 19, first responders will be able to purchase a car pass for 50% off at the gate.
Buy Early and Save
Discount car passes ($5 savings) are available at SCStateFair.org/Carolina-Lights now through Dec. 7, 2023. Beginning Dec. 8, admission is $20 per car, $35 per mini-bus (9-24 passengers) and $70 for vehicles with 25 or more passengers. Passes can be purchased at SCStateFair.org/Carolina-Lights or at the gate. Cash and credit cards will be accepted.
Patrons should enter at Gate 6 on George Rogers Boulevard. To ensure the safety of all and control the flow of traffic, visitors will not be permitted to exit their vehicles. Guests who wish to drive through a second time on the same night may request a re-entry pass at the exit gate until 15 minutes before closing each night.
“Many people often think of the S.C. State Fair as just two weeks in October, but in fact, we operate year-round,” says Smith. “We are a non-profit organization dedicated to offering family-friendly entertainment, celebrating South Carolina’s heritage, giving back through educational scholarships and so much more.”
Carolina Lights will run Dec. 8-24 from 6-9 p.m. Sundays, and Tuesdays through Thursdays and 6-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The light show will be closed on Mondays. For more information and to purchase passes, visit SCStateFair.org/Carolina-Lights.
About the South Carolina State Fair
The South Carolina State Fair, a self-supporting 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was organized in 1869 and is dedicated to preserving and promoting South Carolina’s agricultural roots while supporting statewide education. In addition to the 12-day South Carolina State Fair, the charitable organization manages annual football parking, is a popular event venue and hosts Carolina Lights — Columbia’s downtown drive-through light show. The South Carolina State Fair has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships since 1997.