Sea lions splash into Aiken

Shag dance floor, comedic animals newest additions

Visitors to the Western Carolina State Fair can look forward to several new attractions this year.

From sea lions to beach music, there's something for everybody, said Doug Wolf, the advertising and marketing director for the fair.

The 2010 Western Carolina State Fair starts Thursday and runs until Oct. 30. The fair is the largest event in Aiken County and has grown from a small field on the south side of Aiken to a 60-acre complex.

"The sea lion show has been an expensive show to get, and we've never really been able to afford to get it. But because of the economy, I would guess, it's cheaper this year. Everybody who ever sees that really raves about it," Wolf said.

Sea Lion Splash is said to be the only traveling sea lion show in the United States.

The 30-minute show is geared toward people of all ages. It is designed to entertain and educate the audience on the habits and nature of sea lions, according to the fair's Web site, while bringing out their comedic behavior with tricks such as catching and retrieving objects, doing handstands, dancing and singing.

At 7 tonight, the fair will open with country band Gloriana. Wolf said he believes the act is a great addition to the fair lineup.

Also new this year is Shaggin' on the Midway at 7 p.m. Friday. "We've got a beach band that's going to be playing. We've got a VIP area set up, and there'll be a dance floor for people to shag," Wolf said. "There were a lot of requests for it."

These attractions are in addition to more than 40 rides presented by Belle City Amusements. The fair will have traditional midway rides and new attractions. Children and parents can spend the day on the Kiddy Land Midway rides. Gate admission is $6 daily. All shows and concerts are free with paid gate admission.

There are also discounts for fairgoers. On Sunday, seniors 55 and older can get half off admission with a valid ID. On Oct. 30, retired and active-duty military get half off admission with a valid military picture ID.

For more information, visit westerncarolinastatefair.com.

Gloriana sustains momentum after wild ride
If you go

WHEN: The Western Carolina State Fair starts today and runs through Oct. 30

WHERE: Aiken Fairgrounds, U.S. Highway 1, Aiken

ATTRACTIONS:

- More than 40 midway and state-of-the-art rides

- Circle "C" Petting Zoo

- Sea Lion Splash

- Arts, crafts and horticulture show

Entertainment:

- Gloriana, 7 p.m. today, with opening act Mandy Brooks

- Shaggin' on the Midway, with Palmetto Groove Party Band, 7 p.m. Friday

- Ball of Steel Motorcycle Freestyle Stunt Show; 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday; 6 and 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday

- Demolition Derby, Oct. 27, 28 and 30

- Redneck Truck Competition, Oct. 28