Get Ready for the Big E!

September 12, 2012

Now that Labor Day has passed, it is starting to feel a lot more like fall. While the season of autumn does not officially begin until September 22nd, the days are already getting shorter and the nights are feeling cooler. Here in New England, fall is an excellent time to enjoy the changing leaves and the many fairs and festivals around the state. One of the largest fairs in the region is the Big E, also known as the Eastern States Exposition that lies just to our north in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Starting this weekend, the iconic fair will run from September 14th through September 30th, drawing over one million visitors from around New England. The Big E serves as the state fair for all of the New England states, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

As the sixth largest agricultural fair in the entire United States, the Big E has numerous attractions that keep many of us returning year after year. Some of these include the Avenue of States, Storrowton Village Museum, Farm-A-Rama, midway games, livestock, fair food, crafts for sale and much more.

The Avenue of States is one of the more popular sites to explore. It is home to six different statehouses that are representative models based on statehouses located in each of the New England states. Inside, visitors can discover some of the best products, foods and traditions that each state has to offer.

One of the most interesting questions that has been raised is whether each statehouse belongs to the state it represents. Interestingly enough, it is true. Each statehouse is similar to an embassy in that the property and land underneath the building is owned and operated by each state. In fact, when you purchase something from our statehouse, you are paying sales tax that is reinvested into maintaining and operating the Connecticut Building.

Among the six statehouses, the Connecticut Building has an interesting history. Back in 1938, Connecticut Governor Wilbur C. Cross laid the cornerstone of the statehouse, reportedly on the same day just hours before the hurricane of 1938 devastated our state. Modeled after the Old Statehouse in Hartford, the building was officially opened the next year. Today, it is managed by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the state agency that is in charge of marketing and tourism for our state.

Each year, Connecticut-made products are displayed in the building as well as tourist information, books written by Connecticut authors, agricultural exhibits, different types of food and more. Some of the featured products with Connecticut ties include Lego toys and Timex watches. If you would like to celebrate everything that our state has to offer, Connecticut Day will be held on Wednesday, September 19th.

Since 1917, the Big E has entertained generations of local residents looking for a festive way to enjoy the fall. In addition to the regular attractions, this year’s Big E will also feature some major acts, including country music artists Rodney Atkins, Billy Currington and Alan Jackson as well as comedian Jeff Dunham. If you are interested in visiting the Big E, I encourage you to learn more about the upcoming events and entertainment by visiting their website at