Farmgirl Roadtrip: Head With Me to “The Big E”!

In New England, autumn is a gift Mother Nature bestows upon us before winter’s chill. Late September through early October typically brings beautiful weather…cool but not too cold, warm enough to enjoy the outdoors without much more than long-sleeves and jeans. Pumpkins decorate porches, colorful mums burst with rich color, and the leaves start to change. There’s local fall festivals, hayrides, corn mazes, and apple picking. It’s also time to catch the last of the county fairs. From Maine to New York (and beyond), there’s much excitement about “The Big E Fair” at the Eastern States Exposition… the “grand-daddy” of fairs, a true New England tradition! Over one million folks head to this fall extravaganza each season. This year, we got to see what the buzz is all about!

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Located on 175 acres in West Springfield, Massachusetts, “The Big E”, (http://www.thebige.com/fair/ ), is part county fair, part museum, part carnival…and just loads of fun. Started as a way to aid the declining farming industry in New England, the first exposition occurred in 1916; today “The Big E” is a seventeen-day, huge family-fun event. We decided to head up this year with friends on a recent weekday school holiday. Once inside, we weren’t sure what to see first! We started with the historical exhibits, such as this year’s look back at the World’s Fair, 1964/1965.

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Next, we headed into the Farm-A-Rama, where we saw baby chicks hatch right before our eyes, baby piglets with their mama, various breeds of chickens, majestic Clydesdales, and other agricultural-themed displays, (aka “Farmgirl Heaven”).

"Sow" Sweet

“Sow” Sweet!

Can you believe this is carved on a real pumpkin?! Puts my jack o'lanterns to shame!

Can you believe this is carved on a real pumpkin?! Puts my jack-o’-lanterns to shame!

One feels very small next to these majestic Clydesdales.

One feels very small next to these majestic Clydesdales.

We rested a bit while catching a horse show.

This mother/daughter team was my favorite and a blue ribbon winner!

This team was my favorite and a blue ribbon winner!

IMG_9519Then there were vendors, crafts and exhibitors from all over the country, and fair contests showcasing baking, cooking, sewing, and fiber arts…so inspiring!

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Making a new friend

Making a new friend

While we missed the Circus Spectacular on this visit, we did enjoy the circus memorabilia museum.

IMG_9528My favorite part of the fair not found anywhere else is the Avenue of States. Here, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut are each represented by life-sized replicas of each state’s original state house, built between 1919 and 1958. Each state still owns its state house and the land upon which it sits. Inside are displays, foods, and vendors unique to that particular state. We enjoyed goodies like Maple Cotton Candy and Maple Soda in Vermont, watched baskets being made by hand in New Hampshire, saw dinosaurs and listened to musicians in Connecticut, met authors in Rhode Island, and made lists of attractions we’d like to see in each of the states. I’m now a huge fan of the Vermont Flannel Company, and their hand-cut and sewn, 100% cotton, soft double-brushed flannel. I picked up a beautiful, feminine-cut flannel shirt for the colder months ahead, and my friend bought one of their beautiful patchwork flannel blankets for her sofa.(Showing my new shirt to my husband, he asked, “Where’s mine?” Aha! Now I know what to get him for Christmas)! Check out their website at http://www.vermontflannel.com/.

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Love my new shirt!

Farmgirl Find: Love my new shirt!

Of course, there’s a Midway, with all kinds of rides and attractions.  I earned “Cool Mom Points” when I let my daughter talk me into a ride on a small roller coaster.

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An afternoon parade...

An afternoon parade…

IMG_9538We arrived at 11:00, left after 6:30, and still did not see it all. I’m thankful for comfortable shoes! We were tired, happy and had a really memorable day. I know “The Big E” will now be a tradition for us, too.

Tell me, are you a “Big E Fair” fan? Or is there an attraction in your area that attending is a tradition for your family? Share with me in the comments section!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

 

 

 

Leave a comment 16 Comments

  1. susan says:

    Living in Georgia, I’ve never been to the Big E Fair. Heck, we hardly have fairs in Georgia any longer, but next year three of my friends and I are planning to head up the East Coast and we may just put the Big E Fair on our list of things to see. Thank you for the pictures and the descriptions.
    Susan

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Susan! I think you would certainly enjoy this fair! If you go, plan on spending a full day there, and wear comfy shoes! The day we went was overcast, but there is so much indoors too, that even if the day I planned to go rained, I’d still attend. Have fun on your trip to the East Coast. Sounds like a fun time with your friends. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Dori Troutman says:

    Nicole, this looks like so much fun. I would love to have seen the quilts and crafts. What a fun day. Thanks for sharing! -Dori (the Ranch Farmgirl) –

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Dori! It was a very fun day, and the quilts and crafts were so breathtaking! It’s on my “bucket list” to enter something sometime in one of these fairs! There’s quite a few around us. It’s nice to see fairs like this because you see all ages and generations have a fun – and “unplugged – time! Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  3. Mel H says:

    Looks like BIG fun! At the moment Texas is in the middle of our State Fair of Texas! It’s the best place to have the greatest time of your life! Most of all……..Big Tex over sees all the excitement. I am sure you are familiar with Big Tex since you are an original Texan. He has a great new look since he was burned due to fire last year And he is even 8 feet taller!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mel! Oh yes, I remember the State Fair of Texas, and of course, Big Tex! It was awful to see he had caught fire. Glad to know he is bigger and better than ever! When my daughter was little, she had two books about the State Fair of Texas and Big Tex. My father got them for her, autographed, written and illustrated by a lady he knew from the “Dallas Market”, before he retired. The books were some of her favorite stories, and I’ve put them away for when she has little ones someday. I always promised her we’d see Big Tex in person, though we never got to while she was still little. Maybe someday we will go, and I also want to take her to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. CR LAGROUE says:

    I enjoyed seeing yall’s trip to the Big E. It reminded me of some of the fairs I went to years ago.

  5. Andrea A says:

    Loved the BIG E! It reminded me of the times my grandmother used to take me to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto! Good times.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      The weather this trip was perfect, too…not too hot, not too cold. It was a great day! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Donna cyr says:

    I was born and raised in Massachusetts so every year it was a treat to be able to go to the Big E on the first or second day it opened kids would be let out of school just for this event, It has not changed much over the years and my favorite place is storritown village 1700 buildings the church and the school house. Back in the day they gave out all kinds of free stuff not made out of plastic. you would be able to fill a bag full of goodies. My family is still in Mass and I try to arrange to go up in September and work my time around the Big E LOVE LOVE LOVE The Big E Started going in 1962
    I now live in Tennessee and love your blogs thank you. This post got me very excited as it has been a few years since if been up to the Big E . /

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Donna, Thank you for such a nice comment! I am so glad you liked this post. I did not get to see the Storritown Village! Thank you…it’s now on my list for next year, for sure! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Beverly Battaglia says:

    These are great pictures, Nicole. When I lived in the Dallas area, before you were born, we took your brother, Russell, to some small fairs, but never went to the Big State Fair.
    Your flannel shirt has such beautiful bright colors and loved to see the little pigs and the Mustang. Great story. Love, Mother

  8. Denise says:

    Sounds a wonderful place.

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