100 Years of the Big E

WEST SPRINGFIELD – The Big E is a nickname for the Eastern States Exposition, which was first held in 1916. According to Wikipedia, it was thought up by Joshua L. Brooks as a way to promote agriculture and educate young people in the skills and know-how when it came to agricultural jobs. The nickname started to be used in 1967.

Agriculture remains a large part of the Big E even today through a large number of 4-H and FFA members taking part, along with a large number of open show exhibitors there as well.

Only World War I and World War II have paused the annual tradition in Springfield due to the military needing the grounds for storage depots.

There are livestock displays which include horse shows, dog shows, and other livestock like chickens, pigs, sheep, and goats.

They have concerts, and various vendors, some of them being out of the Better Living Center.

I have seen several concerts there with country music artists I like: Jake Owen, Joe Nichols, Craig Morgan, Montgomery Gentry, and Rodney Atkins. I have even gotten myself a nice cowboy hat from one of the vendors, which is black, and which I still have in my home. There is also a place where you can have a hat or a t-shirt custom spray-painted.

There is a part of the Big E called the Avenue of States. This consists of buildings for each of the six states that are part of New England: Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts.

I have presented a little bit of my experience with the Big E to you, along with the history of the event. But I asked a few other people in Greenfield what they think of it.

A man named Guy had this to say about the Big E: “I like it. I like going down. Lots of things to see there. It’s kind of the same every year, but all of the fairs are the same every year!”

A young man named Brendan mentioned this, when I asked his opinion of the fair: “Packed. It’s always packed.”

An elderly woman named Gladys had this to say as well, in connection with the 100-year anniversary of the event: “I think it’s marvelous. Wish it would last another hundred years. It would be a shame if future generations didn’t see it.”

To me, these comments mean that Big E has not really lost any steam when it comes to being popular, and has people continuing to come there each year.

The rest of what I personally think and have experienced of the Big E is that it is a good place to see various country music artists that I like to see at concerts. This year for a country singer they have Lee Brice showing up. He will be there on Friday, September 30.

The exhibit where I can see real-life bears, such as a Grizzly, through a big picture window is very cool. People can look at the bears from a close distance. My favorite state buildings to go to are Vermont and Rhode Island. I like the Vermont one because I usually can get cheddar cheese from Vermont there. I go to the Rhode Island one because I have frequently been there on day trips to their beaches, so I am just a fan of the place.

It’s also a great place to find Christmas gifts for people.

All these things are what I like to experience at the Big E, and for all I know, is what other people go to the Big E to experience as well. The Big E will be from September 16 until October 2.

Featured image courtesy of Jeremy Goldstein via Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0.