What Can You Expect at the Coastal Carolina Fair?


Selina Pi

A night view of the fair

Selina Pi, Editor

The Coastal Carolina Fair, held in late October and early November, welcomes hundreds of thousands of citizens from the Lowcountry and beyond every year. Gate hours vary by day. Admission costs $5 for children age 6 to 12 and $8 for those 13 and over. Part of the proceeds go to local charities and organizations, such as the American Red Cross, Hope House, James Island Outreach, Darkness to Light, Chase After a Cure, and Walk for Autism.

The Midway rides are the centerpiece of the fair. Tickets cost $1 each, but each ride costs 3 to 6 tickets. Or for $20 to $25, you can receive a stamp on your left hand that gives you access to all gliding swings, bumper cars, and more. The Moby Dick tosses fair-goers around like voyagers on the rolling waves of the high seas. Next, imagine yourself like the moon, revolving around the earth, which is itself revolving around the sun; then imagine that the moon is rotating on a central axis too: you are on the Space Rider, which will leave your head spinning! On Zero Gravity, people are loosely strapped to the wall of a circular chamber. As the chamber spins and beings to tilt sideways, you can feel the back of your head press harder against the wall and the contents of your belly shift from side to side. Rock N Roll sets pairs of people in vintage-looking cars that spin at high speeds up and down hills. If you are in the mood for a tamer attraction, head for the funhouses, with mirror mazes, slides, rolling floors, and those classic curved mirrors that can make a 6-foot tall human look 2 feet tall. The longest lines are probably at Crazy Mouse, a rollercoaster of randomness, or the Mega Drop, which lifts you to the tallest point in the fair, suspends you there for around half a minute, and releases you when you least expect it. Sometimes the stars align and the ride drops when the background music’s bass drops. Your stomach’s descent will reach nearly 60 miles per hour. Using magnetic force, the ride brakes at 4.5 g’s. And of course, several Ferris wheels light up the fair, fitting three to four people per compartment and giving you a lovely view if you do not suffer from acrophobia.

After the rides, the next things one might associate with the fair are fair food and fair games. Elephant ears, funnel cake, cotton candy, candy apples, fried candy, and monstrous turkey legs are available at every other stall. Another gastronomic gem was a Chinese-inspired Original Chicken-on-a-Stick stall. Fair games included the balloon dart toss, the bottle ring toss, the basketball toss, the ladder-climbing game, the water shooting game, and the high-strike. The basketball toss is extremely difficult because the hoops are not regulated and are likely ovular. However, the ladder game intrigues so many people because the fair operators seem to climb it just as easily as hopeful participants fall off. This website tells you how to approach the ladder game (among other fair games). Balance is key.

What else is at the fair? Leggings, ponchos, jewelry, phone accessories, and real fox tails are sold in stalls. Local and international companies, such as Borden, Sticky Fingers, and Verizon set up stalls and talk to customers. Arts and crafts, floral, and business exhibits line the edge of the fairgrounds. A petting zoo hosts elephants, ponies, and more. Daily shows include the American BullRiders tour and the Willis Clan.

Sunday, November 9 is the last day the fair is open this year.