Carolina Lights Passes on Sale Now!

Oct. 11-22, 2023


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, 2022, when the S.C. State Fair hosts it’s first-ever Sensory-Friendly Morning. During Sensory-Friendly Morning, 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.

Sensory Friendly Morning Highlights

  • At 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, children and adults with autism or sensory processing disorders are welcome to enter the fairgrounds, as our guest, up to one hour before the gates officially open to the public at 11 a.m.
  • The barns will be open and the animals and their owners will be delighted to have guests see the animals and their morning routines.
  • Select rides will be running with no music or lights from 10 a.m.-noon.
  • Buildings will open with a more peaceful atmosphere from 11 a.m.- noon.
  • Food vendors will start to serve at 11 a.m.
  • Quiet and more peaceful strolling acts will perform starting at 10 a.m.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no need to pre-register for this event.

At the large public parking area called the Lexington Medical Center Fair Park, which will open no earlier than 9 a.m. at Gate 6.  It costs $5 to park.  The GPS address is 901 George Rogers Blvd., Columbia, S.C.  There are accessible spots on a first come first serve basis. Buses may drop guests off at the entry gate and then proceed to park.

View Parking Information

Sights and Sounds:

  • Sounds, lights and motion will be turned down as much as possible during the fair.
  • Noise-canceling headphones are recommended.
  • Please be aware that usual sights and sounds on the fairgrounds will return at noon, starting with the National Anthem music on the PA system and the raising of the American flag near the South Gate.
  • For the safety and security of all guests, everyone will still be required to follow the mandatory clear bag policy and go through the metal detectors. Staff will make this process as sensory friendly as possible.
  • If you need special accommodations, ask for the gate superintendent.
  • Use the story board to help plan your trip. 
  • The Cantey Building, which includes fine art, photography, student art and the traveling Museum of the Moon exhibition sponsored by SCETV, tends to be a quieter building throughout the fair.
  • The gates will open to the general public at 11 a.m. They will be told on Oct. 13 that it is sensory-friendly morning. Guests will be asked to respect the quietness of the fairgrounds until noon.
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