The gates open on the 45th annual Western Carolina State Fair on Thursday, Oct. 17, with a couple of new rides and a new spin on a favorite fair food.
“We’ve got the Stinger and Vertigo, and this year we have the red velvet funnel cake. It’s the first time we’ve rolled that out,” said Michael Dennis, the president of the Western Carolina Fair Foundation, which operates the fair.
About 55,000 people are expected to come through the gates during the annual fair, which is held at the Aiken Fairgrounds, 561 May Royal Dr.
In addition to Reithoffer Shows’ carnival midway with more than 40 rides, the fair features a variety of entertainment and special events.
The University of South Carolina Aiken’s pro rodeo, which benefits the Pacers’ baseball program, will be at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 17-18. Sanctioned by the International Pro Rodeo Association, the rodeo includes such events as bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, cowgirl barrel racing and team roping.
The Stoney Roberts Demolition Derby is another highlight of the fair. It will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 26.
“Everyone really enjoys the demolition derby,” Dennis said.
Other special performances include Ackmonster’s Chainsaw Art at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.
United States Dressage Federation gold and silver medalist Lisa Dufresne will present Horses! Horses! Horses! at 6 and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dufresne has 12 miniature stallions, a Freisian and a black Arabian in her show.
Hypnotist Mark Yuzuik will perform at 6 and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
If you attend the fair, be careful not to jaywalk or break any other rules or Mayberry’s Barney Fife might “nip it in the bud” by giving you a ticket. Actor Scott Epperson will wander through the fair portraying the deputy from The Andy Griffith Show.
Also, there’s the 4H-FFA Junior Meat Goat Show, the King Arthur Cupcake Challenge, diaper derby and oatmeal cream pie-eating contest.
The Western Carolina State Fair closes on Saturday, Oct. 26.
“We’d like everybody to come out and enjoy it and let’s ride,” said Dennis.
Gates open at 5 p.m. on weekdays and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. General admission is $6; add a Magic Pass for an additional $35 for unlimited rides. A Mega Pass, which must be purchased by Oct. 16, is $25 and includes admission and unlimited rides.
A number of promotions are planned throughout the week. For details, call (803) 648-8955 or visit westerncarolinastatefair.com.