Many calendars already have a big circle drawn around an important time on the Fall Calendar. This time is set aside for what is well-known as the “Big E” – officially known as the Eastern States Exposition. The Big E is billed far and wide as “New England’s State Fair.” The Big E serves as the de facto state fair for all six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Each of the New England states is prominently represented at the fair – with the “Avenue of States” marked by a replica of each state capital – as one of the most popular attractions. The Big E -the sixth largest agricultural fair in the country and the largest in New England – is an annual tradition that brings family and friends together for celebration and reunion. The Big E – 2011 runs from September 16 – October 2. This opportunity for a million visitors to come to West Springfield to enjoy, learn and explore was the idea of Joshua L. Brooks, a printer and entrepreneur from Springfield – back in the early 20th century.
…in 1914, a group of western Massachusetts businessmen created a new organization, the Eastern States Agricultural and Industrial Exposition. Its purpose was to promote New England agriculture, which was in serious decline, by linking it to New England industry, which was thriving. In less than ten months, the men leading the Eastern States movement turned 175 acres of swampy land along the Westfield River into a showcase for agricultural and industrial exhibits and a place for wholesome entertainment. In the fall of 1916, 45,000 people attended the first event held on the grounds. Nearly 90 years later, the Big E, as the fair has long been called, draws 1,000,000 visitors a year to that same site in West Springfield.
Read the full article here at MassMoments: http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=156 and check out the schedule including the appearance “on stage” by country star Reba McIntyre here at the Big E 2011 site: http://www.thebige.com/fair/