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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Task 38 – Eastern States Exposition – Big E (West Springfield, MA)

(38) Visit 10 Festivals of Fairs (04/20)
Festival: Big E
Location: West Springfield, MA


When: September 25, 2011

Rating: 3-Stars

Annually since 1917 during early autumn the Eastern States Exposition (Big E) is held in West Springfield, MA. It runs for 17 days beginning on the second Friday after Labor Day. The Big E is the 6th largest agricultural fair in the country and the largest in New England.

The Big E is a joint state fair for all of the New England states and each state is represented. One of the most popular attractions is the Avenue of the States. The avenue is lined with small scale replicas of the original state houses from each of the New England states. The state buildings feature exhibits and vendors which exemplify the heritage, food, and traditions of their state. For example Maine offers it's baked potato and Vermont it's maple syrup. Much like national embassies the state houses and the land which they were built are actually owned by the respective states and administered by each states police force. As a result you can buy tickets for each state’s lottery.

Other attractions include Storrowtown Village where fair goers can experience New England life from the 19th century. This is also the home of the Beer Garden where fair goers can sample a variety of Sam Adam's current beers. While here this year I sampled the Cheery Wheat which was brewed with Michigan cherries and was terrific.

Another crowd favorite is the Better Living Center. Here you will find all kinds of house wares including the VitaMix blender, RC Helicopters, the world famous sham wow and just about anything you can think of. This is a great place to spend a few hours but be careful not to be suckered into everything they sell.

My favorite attraction has got to be the Big E Super Circus. This year the Ring Master was Tyron McFarlan and the acts included comedian and clown Bello Nock and the Sphere of Fear, the Olate Dogs, juggler Picasso Jr, Alexandra's net trapeze and the Big E Super Circus Elephants.

Of course no fair is complete without the amusement rides. This year I skipped the rides since I find them very over priced and generally not worth it. Maybe I'm just getting too old for them or am too fiscally conservative to spend the money.

This year the Big E had a total attendance of 1,201,428 people over the course of the 17 day period. The lowest daily attendance was 31,300 and the highest daily attendance was the final day with 136,412 people. The day we went there was 96,512 other fair goers walking the grounds of the Big E.


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