When: Oct. 14-25.
Where: S.C. State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia.
Distance: 90 minutes, via I-77 South.
What’s new? Major renovation to grounds; new Hampton Plaza grassy will feature animatronic “Wild About Dinosaurs” walk-through display; new Goodman Building shopping area. New food this year will include the Southern Belle Burger (burger with pimento cheese, bacon, fried green tomatoes) and bacon cinnamon roll.
Main-stage entertainment: Oct. 14: Thomas Rhett; Oct. 16: Shawn Mendes; Oct. 17: The Volunteers; Oct. 18: Gladys Knight; Oct. 21: Cole Swindell; Oct. 23: Newsboys; Oct. 25: Israel and New Breed. Fair admission free with paid admission to these concerts ($15-$20). Most shows start at 6 or 7 p.m.
Free concerts with paid fair admission: Oct. 17: The Volunteers ; Oct. 25 Israel and New Breed (4 p.m.)
Midway: Total of 72 rides. Most rides are four to eight tickets. Tickets: $1.25 each; packages available. Weekdays, unlimited-ride wristband is $28 ($23/advance at Walgreens).
Admission: $10/gate, $7/advance (via Etix and at Walgreens); $1 opening day (fairgrounds only); $7 for 55 and older; 5 and younger and active military and dependents, free. Weekday lunch pass, noon-2 p.m. (pay $5 cash admission, reimbursed when you leave at 2 p.m.).
Special days: Oct. 15: College Day (free admission with college ID); Oct. 21: Senior Day (55 and older admitted free); Oct. 22: Exceptional Citizens Day (handicapped or special-needs visitors admitted free); Oct. 17: Boy/Girl Scout Day (free admission if wearing uniform); weekdays: noon-2 p.m. pay $5 cash admission, reimbursed when you leave at 2 p.m.).