Early September in New England means several things. The end of Summer is coming (boooo!), school starts back up for the kids and pumpkin flavored everything starts to show up in every store and restaurant imaginable.
My favorite thing about early September, however, is something called The Big E. The Big E is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the 5th largest fair in the nation.
It takes place in Springfield, MA and is the best way to end the Summer. It has everything you could possibly want at a fair and more.
One of the big attractions is The Avenue of States. This is a street that has a building that represents each state in New England. They feature exhibits and vendors that best exemplify the heritage, food and traditions of each state.
The Maine building has lobster (of course), blueberries (which are delicious) and the biggest attraction baked potatoes. Holy crap the potatoes! These aren’t just regular potatoes. These are huge potatoes covered in melted butter, sour cream, chives etc. The line at times for these magical potatoes has been known to go out of the building. I am not joking!
My favorite building is the Vermont building. It has Ben & Jerry’s (which has a sorbet selection which is great because I am lactose intolerant), maple syrup and Cabot cheese. The maple syrup is heavenly! I would go broke buying it. And the cheese. I can eat Cabot cheese because of the zero amount of lactose in it so I usually overdose on the free samples! If you knew my love of cheese you would understand!
After visiting the Avenue of States I always drag whomever is with me to my absolute favorite building – Farm- A- Rama. This building houses animals that I have adored ever since I first saw them years ago when I was little. Giant Hallamore Clydesdales. These gentle giants are a must see. They are so beautiful and patient. They come from Alesbury, England and they visit every year. They are even a part of the daily parade that runs through the fairgrounds.
I am always amazed at how big yet quiet these horses are. They seem to have a wonderful bond with their handlers. They follow commands without problem and never act up.
Other things to see in the Farm-A-Rama building are the giant pumpkin competition, farm animals like pigs and FFA floral and landscape designs. Those are always so pretty!
These two designs are from last year and are really nice. I made sure to keep the pictures of them.
There used to be a chick hatchery in the building but concerns about avian flu caused the hatchery to be removed and replaced with a interactive display that educated people about chickens.
I always end the day with the Mardi Gras parade that runs around the fairgrounds at night. There are beautiful floats filled with people throwing different colored beads. You can sign up to be on the floats but I found out you have to apply early because space is limited. I am gonna try to sign up and do it with a friend this year. It looks like fun!
If you are ever in the New England area in September I definitely suggest visiting the Big E. You will not be disappointed!