Fall Fair- The Big E

Part of the Fall flurry includes going to the fairs. Our local fair is a great place to find a mentor if you want to keep bees, learn about livestock, enter needlework, art, garden and baking contests, or just see all the great things going on in the farms, garden and kitchens around town.

The big fair event, held since 1917 is THE BIG E and all of 5 of our New England states participate and are represented. It’s a big tradition up here. I remember going when I was a little girl and taking my girls when they were small. It is held for 2 weeks and over a million people attended this year. I came on a weekday and it wasn’t a bit crowded.

When you first walk in, there’s the Avenue of the States that actually have life sized replicas of each state’s statehouse. In these buildings, the states sell local food specialties and crafts. There’s maple syrup everywhere! Beautiful flannels, wools, organic milk, honey, cheddars and lots of blueberries, raspberries and apples too. Pies, breads, donuts and crumbles are all being baked in these buildings and they smell delicious.
Then there’s the Farm-a-Rama. That building is dedicated to agriculture. Among other things, there’s a model cow that you can try to experience what milking feels like, a hatchery where little chicks are breaking out of their eggs, the giant pumpkin contest, sheep shearing, farm equipment and a great bee exhibit.

Storrowtown Village is part of the fair too. You can take a tour or just stroll around on your own. Either way, you get a nice feel for what 19th century living was like. There’s lots of crafters there and exhibits on old time crafts as well.

On the Midway are all the rides, food and items you’d expect to find at a carnival. Balloons, puppets, fried dough, blooming onions, fried cheese curd, cotton candy …

Everybody talks about the BIG E cream puffs. I never tried one but since they have become so famous around here, I snapped a pic.image
Beautiful quilts and needlework, jelly contests, baking and cake decorating contests, oxen pulls and working sheep dog exhibits… I’m just giving you a glimpse here. There is a cheese contest, a  400 pound butter sculpture, handmade stetson hats,  upcycled crafts  and a lot more.   The Big E, formally known as the Eastern States Exposition,  is our largest event of the year here.

2 thoughts on “Fall Fair- The Big E

  1. Cynthia,
    I would love to attend such a historic fair. I couldn’t get over the picture of the big puppets! I think small Midwestern towns like mine could learn a lot from an event like this when putting together our yearly town events. The ideas and traditions would really bring some life back into some rather tired old events. I’m going to find out more about the Big E and bring some of these ideas to our local meetings.
    What a fun day (or days) would be spent seeing everything. Living museums are my favorite pastime when I can get a way from the shop. And looking at the canning and produce is something I love to do just from my passion as a gardener. It would be a wonderful place to spend a day just taking photographs. Thanks for bringing something completely unknown to this Illinois lady.


    • I love doing that too. Shaker Village and Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts are 2 great living museums . My favorite part is their gardens. Plymouth Plantation is another good one. The Glebe House is small but their garden was designed by Gertrude Jekyll. I spend a lot of time in Williamsburg, Va. Colonial Williamsburg is amazing. I’ve gotten some great garden inspiration from the gardens there as well. Someday I would love to go on a garden tour of England.


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