Each year the Eastern State Exposition is a rich blend of old traditions and new exciting offerings. It's no different for 2012 with new faces, fresh entertainment, and exotic tastes set to thrill the more than 1 million visitors expected to pass through the Big E's gates.
The biggest change for the 2012 Big E is one that most visitors to the fair won't even notice. It's the introduction of Eugene J. Cassidy as the Chief Executive Officer. Cassidy took over on June 27, though he has been with the Eastern States Exposition since 1993. Cassidy takes over from Wayne McCary, who retired this summer after spending 21 years in charge of the fair.
Cassidy, a West Springfield native, says his goals are to both preserve and advance the programs, facilities and mission of Eastern States Exposition. He's also looking to expand on the number of events and shows that the fairground host every year.
Entertainment for all ages
The 2012 Big E features a wide mix of musicians and entertainers.
Headlining on the Comcast Arena Stage are country singer Billy Currington on Sept. 28, ventriloquist comedian Jeff Dunham on Sept. 29, and country legend Alan Jackson on Sept. 30. A limited number of tickets are available for each of these shows. They can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com.
There's also plenty of free entertainment. For younger audiences, Hot Chelle Rae performs on Friday, Sept. 21. The U.S. Freestyle Motorcross National Championship Series tears up the Comcast Arena Stage on from Friday Sept. 14 through Sunday Sept. 16. Country singer Rodney Atkins performers on Sept. 23. Doo wop returns to the Big E on Saturday Sept. 22, with Jay Siegal and The Tokens, Kenray Vance, and Jay Black taking to the stage.
The Stars of the Peking Acrobats are set to thrill audiences on the Court of Honor Stage daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Back by popular demand, Sea Lion Splash returns to their home at the north end of the Avenue of States, right next to the CBS 3 Springfield booth, with shows daily at noon., 3:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., plus additional 10:30 a.m. shows on Saturdays and Sundays.
A variety of classic acts hit the hit the Court of Honor Stage at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily. Righteous Brother Bill Medley sings from Sept. 14-16. Eddie Holman, famous for the song "Lonely Girl", performs from Sept. 17-21. Former member of Badfinger, Joey Molland, performs Sept. 22-26. Finally Shannon wraps up the fair with hits like "Let the Music Play" from Sept. 27-30.
From fried foods to a celebration of the original "fast food", this year's Big E is filled with a smorgasbord of places to pig out.
In 2012, the sandwich turns 250 and the Big E's going all-out with more than 250 varieties of sandwiches on offer. So whether you've got a hankering for a classic grilled cheese or you want to be adventurous and try out something exotic like alligator, you'll find something sure to fit the bill.
Of course you can't have a great sandwich without having the perfect loaf of bread. So this year the Big E will be hosting a "Sensational Sandwich Bread" contest on Sept. 20 at 11 a.m. in the New England Center.
If sandwiches aren't your thing, you'll find plenty of fried foods to satisfy your appetite. Get a full meal in with treats like fried lasagna or fried PB&J. Or try something refreshing and sweet like fried Kool-Aid, fried jelly beans, or fried whoopie pies. Want to wash all that fried goodness down with something? Why not try out a frozen hot chocolate.
Eating your way around the Big E can cost a bit of money, so new for 2012 fair organizers have introduced a "Food Funds" discount. Through Sept. 12th you can purchase $10 of food tickets for just $8, for a savings of 20 percent. These vouchers are good at official Big E concession including the Storrowton Tavern and the Midway. Just drop by the Big E Box Office or head over to www.thebige.com for all the info.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.