Sometimes It Isn’t Fair…

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Y’all  know I love a county fair! Last year, my friend Andrea and I took our kids and headed up to the Big E, New England’s biggest fair, and the fifth largest agricultural fair in the nation. (If you haven’t heard of it before, check out last year’s blog post from my first-ever fun visit at http://www.farmgirlbloggers.com/3708#more-3708). This year, Andrea and I decided to go together again, making plans similar to last year. However, things doesn’t always go as planned…

We decided to head to the fair mid-week, on a school holiday. While last year when we went it was cool with a rainy morning, this year the weather was all-day perfect: sunny and warm with not a cloud in the sky – the kind of weather where it’s cool enough for open windows but warm enough to wear shorts and a tee shirt. We headed out mid-morning to miss the morning traffic rush, thinking we’d get to the fair around lunch. All was good, with no traffic…until we got in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the Big E is held.

GRIDLOCK.

You know it – that kind of nightmarish traffic that doesn’t move, with cars and trucks lined up as far as the eye can see.

What was supposed to be a two-lane freeway became a three-lane, stopped parking lot.

What was supposed to be a two-lane freeway became a three-lane, stopped parking lot.

Patience is a virtue, but hours in traffic is plain misery. Finally! After merely just inching for miles, we arrived – after four-and-a-half hours of sitting in the car! Fate must have felt sorry for us, as we luckily found a good parking space. We had planned on arriving by noon, but since it was after three when we finally arrived, many fair-goers were leaving and I snagged a parking spot with little difficulty (a news crew posted they couldn’t find a parking space for an hour-and-a-half)!

Once inside, we had a great time. We ate Gyros for lunch, then walked around. Our first stop was the farm tent. If you’ve been to any state fairs across the nation this year, you’ve noticed something missing. “Where’s the chicken”? Actually, poultry is missing from fairs due to the recent high risk of chicken flu, which can be deadly to birds. However, there were plenty of other attractions and animals to see, including Clydesdales, rabbits, and pigs.

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I was just smitten by that baby face!

I was just smitten by that baby face!

Can you imagine the time it took to build this out of Lego blocks?

Can you imagine the time it took to build this out of Lego blocks?

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Ideas for a caption?

Ideas for a caption?

A record was set that day for Big E attendance. 97,892 people attended! A school holiday and day off for many in observance of Yom Kippur, and stunning made-to-order weather may have contributed to the high attendance, as well as being “Connecticut Day”.

Representatives of Connecticut ready to march and play their instruments along the Avenue of States.

Representatives of Connecticut ready to march and play their instruments along the Avenue of States.

In the Rhode Island hall, I want to go visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo this fall (http://www.rwpzoo.org/) after seeing their pumpkin display.

In the Rhode Island building, I now want to visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo this fall (http://www.rwpzoo.org/) after seeing a sampling of their Pumpkin Spectacular.

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We walked through the displays at the Avenue of States, and this year my “souvenir” was found in the New Hampshire building: a hand-loomed table runner for my coffee table. I love the rich colors, and it will keep my glass centerpiece from cracking against the slate table top.

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Despite the numbers, inside the fairgrounds it didn’t feel overcrowded. We didn’t wait too long to see the sights or for rides, so it turned out to be a nice day, after all. The car ride up was tough, but if we hadn’t arrived so late, we wouldn’t have gotten to see the Midway at night. What a sight, all lit up!

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I’m not fond of heights, but I do like riding the Ferris wheel! My daughter had complained that “it wasn’t fair we lost so much time just sitting in traffic”, but on the positive side, we wouldn’t have seen the night lights, and the view from the large Ferris wheel was SPECTACULAR! (Sometimes we just have to look at things from a different perspective to get a better view).

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The Big E fair is going on this year until October 4th. If you go:

  • Pack patience. At some point in the day, you’ll probably end up waiting or in a line. Getting impatient won’t make things move any faster, and the point of a fair is to have fun. Just roll with it.
  • Keep a snack and water in the car. While you may be close by, you never know when you’ll get stuck in a traffic snare. Good advice no matter where you’re headed.
  • Buy your tickets in advance. We purchased ours at our local grocery store beforehand, sold until the day before opening day. Tickets can be purchased online, as well. Having your tickets already in hand saves the time of waiting in line for tickets at the door.
  • Plan what you’d like to see, but keep an open mind in regards to your agenda. Be flexible. I’ve been twice and still haven’t seen it all. You may not be able to see a certain event, but there’s so much to see and do, you’ll have fun no matter what!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a comment 12 Comments

  1. Barbara says:

    Looks like you had a lovely time once you finally made it. I lived close to Springfield,MA for a few years and went to the Eastern States Expo every year. That’s where I had my first kraut dog…lol. Great story.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Barbara! We did have fun, and just had to make the best of the situation, especially since it was out of our control. It is such a fun event, looking back it was worth the hassle. Thanks for “stopping by”! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, I love all the pictures! Especially the midway too, at night. Makes me want to go someday. Too bad for the traffic but maybe not good to go on a school holiday!
    Love
    Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mom! We figured it would be better on a weekday than a Saturday. We also learned not to go on “Connecticut Day”. Perfect weather, holiday, and a special day at the fair made for a “perfect storm”, though it did not feel too crowded once inside. Miss you! Love, Nicole

  3. Vivian Monroe says:

    Looks like fun, I loved going to the fair, as a child. We would get out of school the first friday of the fair, and we would always get a new outfit to wear to the fair. We always loved going to the exhibits, and the agricultural bldgs. My daddy used to drop us off on his way to work in the mornings and then join us there in the evening when he got off, walk around a couple times with us then we would head home very tired. I think it was free that day to get in, and daddy would give each one of us $7, (there were 4 of us) to spend, and it would last us all day until he got there in the evening. I wonder why the $7, why not just $5 or $10..haha Be BLessed. Neta

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Neta, Oh I love this story! Thank you for sharing it with us. For me, we went to a fair or two up near the ranch in the hill country, but it was the Greek Festival that I have the most cherished memories. My parents would pick me up early from school on the first Friday it would open, and we would go and eat, watch the dancers, light a candle in the church, and see all our friends that my dad grew up with. Then I’d get a t-shirt that I would wear the next day to school, very proudly. It was the one event where we really splurged. My grandmother had been one of the founders. I heard now it is so big there (Houston) that it is almost impossible to get in and get tickets. Happy memories. Thanks for stopping by, Neta. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Joan says:

    I can’t go to fair grounds so I thank you for sharing your experiences, those pumpkins are beautiful. And the view from where I could never go – way up high – wow!!!! Thanks again. God bless

  5. Susana says:

    I think my. Fair days are. Over…as for traffic delays we deal with that every day as I live in a tourist town. Glad you had a nice time. Great photos. THANKS FOR SHARING!

  6. Carol says:

    We got caught in the same traffic, but arrive around one. We usually attend the first day and arrive well before noon. Back in the 1990s we went with the children and always went on the school holidays. Never those crowds. I bought a set of those knives back then and still use them.
    I was interviewed by Jen of CT Fox News and made it on the local news. My comment about the crowds was editted out but not my comment about the blueberry pie. My mom was so excited to see her daughter on the 10 pm news.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Carol, I bet I saw you, too! How cool! We went on a school holiday before too, and it wasn’t as crowded, nor was there that bungle of traffic. I’m still glad we got to go and have a good time, despite the delay. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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