Thursday, September 29, 2016
There's Still Time for the Big E!
It's been 100 years and the Big E is still going strong. You still have time to catch it. But, it ends on October 2nd. Should you bother? Yes. Here's what my day at the Big E with the 100th anniversary was like. First thing that I did was to stop in the International Building and do some shopping like I always do, but this year they had an anniversary display. It was informative and I loved some of the exhibits. Being the only state fair in the country that encompasses six states in one fair; there's a lot going on in this place. And there has been for the last 100 years. What is it like today vs 100 years ago? There's still lot's of live entertainment. There's still great exhibits. There's still rides and food. There's still agricultural judgings. What's the difference? It's just bigger and better.
For one thing, you need to stop by Storrowton Village. This is the historic district at the Big E. These buildings have for the most part, been around since the beginning. Here is where the shoppers in the crowd will find all the hand made arts and crafts and some of the best quality of other shopping goods. They have it all from food to fine clothing, to great jewelry, and beyond. The items that you find here will tend to be more expensive than some others at the fair, but they are probably better quality. I do some of my Christmas shopping here. It gets it done early and they are great gifts.
This year they have some special visitors at the Big E. The Budweiser Clydesdales are there. You can visit the horses in their stables at any time during fair hours. The do have a schedule for showings where you can see the horses and even the Dalmatian in all their glory. However, if you like shows, the coliseum has shows all day, all night. They have everything from horse pulls to cars in there and it's always a good time. It's also part of you $15 admission to the fair.
Then there are the state buildings. Since the fair covers 6 states, each state has a building where they show off their unique features. I stopped into all of them this year. Connecticut, my home had lots of Pez, one of our biggest fan favorites of industry. The selection was great. Each building has a visitor's center. This is a great place to pick up brochures about things to do in each individual state. I got some great ideas that I'm sure I'll be writing about later on. Other things that you find are food. I love the Vermont building with all the cheese and maple stuff, and cider. I could get really fat in Vermont's building. Maine's building also has great food. They have lobster and clam dishes as far as the eye can see. They also have great decorator items from the shore and the north woods. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire also showed off great state icon items and fabulous food. It is the north. If you like things with a nautical theme, things with moose and bears on them, or really warm clothes from the likes of LL Bean and such; you need to visit all of these buildings. Just so you know; Vermont has cider slushies and Horseradish cheddar cheese. Just saying.
But, what can you see at the Big E? As I said, any of a number of shows and competitions in the Coliseum. Great exhibits, great food, great animals, and die hard New Englanders that don't care about a little rain. I was right there with them. The best part is that the weather in New England changes every 10 minutes, so after a little rain, it cleared up for the rest of the day. The people who decided not to come out because of the weather made it less crowded for the rest of us. You also find many stands here, with all kinds of things for sale. There is an outdoor stage where the bands perform as well as an indoor arena. There is an arena with outdoor shows in the back. That's where the stunt car show is every year. That one is well worth the time. Of course there is a giant midway where you can ride by the tickets or you can get a day pass for a reasonable price. They also have a kiddie land for all of you with little ones who don't want to search through the rides to find the ones that the little kids can ride. Overall, the Big E is one of the best organized fairs I've ever seen, and there are tons of things to do.
Every afternoon at 5 pm they have a parade, but right before that at 4 pm as well as other times throughout the day; they have a circus. I was surprised to see elephants there. They also had acrobats, jugglers, pigs, clowns, and a fabulous motorcycle cage act. I love a good circus, and even though they call this a mini circus; it's well worth it to stop by. It's also included in the price of admission.
Then there's the food. Whether you're selling it, looking at it or eating it; it is all over at the Big E. You can buy just about anything. Being New England, the place is covered with stands, booths, and restaurants that sell pizza, sausage grinders, and clam chowder. But, if you look around, you'll find pretty much anything in the world. I had a Kangaroo burger, and I'm not ashamed to say so. Be real, if you eat meat, it's all up for grabs. The place I ate at also had Ostrich, Rattlesnake, Bison, and Camel. It tasted like a burger, and it was pretty good. The Big E is a great place to break your diet and try something different. Just make sure you don't leave without your ice cream. I saw over 75 different flavors throughout the many ice cream joints there.
You never know what you'll find at the Big E, but if you don't find it by Sunday, you will have to wait until next year. Is it worth the $15? That's a value, folks. There's a lot of entertainment there for one small price. So come and learn about six different states, ride some great rides, shop, eat, be entertained, see the circus, meet the Clydesdales, spend some time with your family and enjoy!