The Thrifty New England Traveler is a blog of VisitingNewEngland, a web site that features real New England travel stories told by a lifelong local.

2012 Big E Comes to West Springfield, Mass., Sept 14-30

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The Big E in West Springfield, Mass. (Photo, courtesy of The Big E)


Many equate the New England fall season with leaf peeping and apple picking, but I would include The Big E on that list. This is New England’s largest fair that takes place every


September at the Eastern States Exposition Grounds in West Springfield, Mass., (this year, Sept. 14-30).  The joyous overload of fun and entertainment at this timeless New England tradition and travel attraction makes other fairs look just “fair!”

I remember many years ago that The Big E  made me fall in love with fairs. Through the years, the Mardi Gras parades, Big E ‘Super Circus”,  horse shows, animal displays, midway rides, craft exhibits, musical acts (I once saw country singer Faith Hill here before she became super famous!) and the endless row of food vendors (love those gyros plates and Big E cream puffs!) are just a few of the attractions that have created an overall experience that has warmed my heart with long-lasting memories into the coldest days of winter. The Avenue of States just might be my favorite attraction here — buildings that replicate the original state houses from each of the six new England states. It’ not just about going through some historic buildings, however — here, you can browse traditional and new New England food and craft products including Vermont cheese and maple syrup, coastline-inspired jewelry from Rhode Island New England clam chowder, blueberry jams from Maine, etc.

This year’s Big E looks like another incredible experience, and includes such major talent like ventriloquist/comedian Jeff Dunham,  and country music singers Alan Jackson, and Billy Currington. For more information on The 2012 Big E — including admission and schedule  — log onto The Big E web site at http://www.thebige.com/fair/.

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