Get Ready for The Big E
September 5, 2012

A 600-pound butter sculpture. Replicas of all six of New England’s original state capitol buildings. Giant pumpkins. Horse shows. Sheep dog demonstrations. A daily parade. Midway rides.

Lots of fairs may have some of these attractions---well, not the state houses---but few of them have all of these and much, much more. The one and only Big E, or Eastern States Exposition, dating back to 1917, is New England’s largest fair by far. My family also thinks it’s also one of the most entertaining.

This year, the Big E, which calls Springfield, MA, home, runs from September 14 through 30. Joshua L. Brooks, who founded the Big E, aimed to bring together people from all six New England states in one location to share ideas and improve regional agriculture. He also wanted to showcase traditional and new products and attractions that make each New England state unique (that’s where the mini capitol buildings come in---visit them for information, samples and products from each state).

Going to the Big E is definitely an all-day affair.  If you have really young kids, the Farm-a-Rama should be on the top of your list. Baby chicks, sheep-shearing demos, Clydesdale horses, and storytelling are among the activities. Every day at noon, 19th century games are offered at the Village Green at the Storrowton Village Museum, a historical museum with educational exhibits, hands-on displays, and costumed docents.

Every day of the fair, there is at least one parade---sometimes there are two---plus a Mardi Gras parade. There’s a 6,000-seat arena with various musical acts, dozens of carnival rides in the Midway, a circus with three shows a day, food competitions, 4-H competitions, food galore, and more.

If you have a “city” kid, one who might not get a chance to spend much time around animals, watching the kids who participate in the various animal and agriculture shows and competitions at the fair, can be fascinating for them.

Thinking about going? Definitely visit the website first to see what’s happening. You can also purchase advance tickets and sometimes get special deals.

Have you been to the Big E? What’s your favorite attraction or display?




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