WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WFSB) – Hundreds of thousands of people will make their way to West Springfield, MA in the next two weeks to attend the Eastern States Exposition, also known as The Big E.
The Big E is the largest fair in New England, and it kicked off on Friday with new features and many yearly favorite events and attractions.
Right from the get-go, it was packed with patrons, including many from Connecticut.
“It’s a super great fair," said Carl Raytar of Milford.
From fried dough, pulled pork sandwiches, to cream puffs, the Big E offered a wide variety of unique foods.
New foods this year include a chicken bacon and cheese chomper with a buffalo ranch dipping sauce made by Chompers. On the sweet side, Moolicious is offering new chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches.
To see the full list of new foods, click here.
The food may be what a lot of people come for, but the Big E also hosts several concerts over the course of the 17-day fair.
Artists performing at the Big E include:
- 9/13: AJR
- 9/15: Skillet
- 9/15 Blue Oyster Cult
- 9/25: The Original Wailers
- 9/26: Los Lonely Boys
- 9/28: Carly Rae Jepsen
The opening day was also Military Appreciation Day.
Channel 3 met with Carl Raytar, a United States Air Force veteran, and his son Jeff.
“I usually try to come every year," Carl Raytar said.
They shared what they're most excited to see.
“Going to the concerts and then they have the Mardi Gras, and the food," Jeff Raytar said.
The New England buildings also offer a glimpse of what makes each state in the region unique, including Connecticut State Police.
“We have shirts here, we have badges, we have a hat here and they can act like they’re troopers," said trooper Christine Jeltema, state police.
“Connecticut Day” is set for Wednesday, Sept. 18 and it will feature a lumberjack show, a LEGO building contest, a hypnotist show, square dancing, sheep shearing demos, and more.
The fair features "as seen on tv" demonstrations that highlight many gadgets and tools that can be purchased to simplify life at home.
Dozens of vendors sell jewelry, pottery, collectibles and ornaments at the craft common.
There's also the cream puffs.
“I’m looking for Cream Puffs! Because I’m told they’re the best here," said Susan LaSella of Milford.
A daily parade is held at 5 p.m. and a Mardi Gras parade runs Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m.
On the weekends, the Grande Mardi Gras Parade begins at 5 p.m.
There are some changes as well. There are no more elephant rides following an uproar from last year.
There is construction on the Morgan-Sullivan bridge at the West Springfield-Agawam line and it may cause delays in the area.
To alleviate traffic in the area, King Ward Coach Lines is offering shuttles to the Big E. They leave from the Enfield Square Mall, MGM Springfield or Springfield's Union Station.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children 6 to 12 and children 5 and under get in for free.
To purchase Big E tickets, click here.