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New Englanders Flock to ‘The Big E’

Megan Hayes | News Editor

The Big E, also known as the Eastern States Exposition, is a yearly staple of the northeast which encompasses agriculture, history, shopping, rides, and more. The fair, which had its first run in 1916 as the “Eastern States Agricultural and Industrial Exposition”, sparked love in the hearts of many who enjoyed showing off and seeing the best agriculture New England had to offer. As many know, The annual festival which runs for seventeen days is best known for music, animals, and delicacies like fried oreos and the famous Maine baked potato! Many local vendors set up stalls, where you can find anything from hot tubs and garden appliances to handmade cowboy boots and handmade hair extensions. While extremely large and busy, the Big E sparks a sort of nostalgia for many who have been going for years – and excitement for newcomers.

Another main staple of the fair are the six state houses of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. These buildings are stationary and are used annually for the fair. Each state building houses an abundance of essential state-specific food vendors, companies, craftsmen, and information tables for travel within each of the states. Within the Vermont house you can find a good ol’ Ben and Jerry’s stand – always the most popular attraction. There is a plentiful amount of Vermont sharp cheddar, and maple-flavored everything - ice cream, candies, soda, and even bacon. Thinking about traveling to Vermont? The visitor booths have you covered! Any and all information your heart could desire is printed out in brochures, widely available for the public. Each building follows the same premise – Maine is filled with lobster and moose-related paraphernalia, Connecticut holds Timex and Lego – a popular booth with the kids. Del’s Lemonade finds itself in the Rhode Island building, attracting quite the line. Each holds their own, making the state house avenue a must-see staple of the Big E.

Livestock is a hit with people of all ages, and much can be learned from this festival. Places like Farm-A-Rama, which house all information about livestock and many pettable animals are another main draw to the crowds. Display shows happen throughout September to October while the exposition runs, and each one focuses on different types of animals – dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, swine and goats to name a few. Patrons are occasionally allowed to interact with the animals within cages, sometimes being able to help milk animals like goats and cows. In addition to livestock, rides and live music are also a draw to the festival. This year, artists like Jimmy Eat World, Zedd, Third Eye Blind, and many up-and-coming bands like High Tea, Strange Neighbors, and the Baxbys will be performing. Rides like the giant slide, the famous Midway ferris wheel, and more will be around, continuing to up the adrenaline from the live music at the exposition! If this wide array of entertainment interests you, be sure to go visit this famous fest! Tickets are on sale now until Sunday October 1st, 2023.


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