WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (The Big E) – The Big E, the largest fair in the Northeast, is gearing up for its centennial celebration with spectacular entertainment, a spectacular exhibit showcasing the rich history of Eastern States Exposition, fun fair foods, rides, shopping and birthday surprises.
You’ll need a full day or more just to get through the long list of featured attractions at The Big E. The fun continues with Mardi Gras & Daily Parades; The Big E Circus Spectacular, sponsored by Coca-Cola; the Budweiser Clydesdales, sponsored by Williams Distributing & Chicopee Savings Bank; McDonald’s Giant Slide; Commerford’s Petting Zoo; Swifty Swine Racing Pigs, sponsored by Leaf Filter Gutter Protection; North American Midway rides; walk-around impersonators, the Mechanical Man and Vegas-style showgirls.
Music lovers are in for a treat with this year’s lineup of great shows at The Big E’s xfinity arena and Court of Honor Stage, sponsored by xfinity®.
xfinity arena, All shows take place at 7:30pm and are free except where noted.
Sept. 17: Blood, Sweat & Tears, featuring Bo Bice
Sept. 18: Collector Car Experience, 2pm
Sept. 23: X Ambassadors
Sept. 24: Elle King
Sept. 25: Maren Morris
Sept. 30: Lee Brice ($29/$39)
Oct. 1: George Thorogood And The Destroyers
Tickets for xfinity arena concerts are available at Tix.com and TheBigE.com. Free concerts come with the option of purchasing premium reserved seating for $25, which includes Fair admission, a $15 value, when purchased prior to the show date.
Court of Honor Stage, sponsored by xfinity, All shows take place at 3 & 8pm except where noted.
Sept. 16: Kelly & Rick Dale of Rick’s Restorations, 2pm;
The Big E Bash, 7pm
Sept. 16 – 23: North Shore Acappella
Sept. 17 – 18: Gloria Gaynor
Sept. 17: White Hut Cheeseburg Eating Contest, hosted by Major League Eating, 12pm;
Wheeler Dealers Q&A with Mike Brewer, 2pm
Sept. 19 – 20: Pure Prairie League
Sept. 21 – 23: The Cowsills
Sept. 24 – Oct. 2: Jon Stetson, 11am, 1 & 6:30pm
Sept. 24: Masters of Music, 3pm; Patrick Tobin, 8pm
Sept. 25: Livio Gravini & The Free Spirit Society, 8pm
Sept. 26 – 29: Stephen Bishop
Sept. 30 – Oct. 2: Mark Farner
Oct. 2: Morgan Page presents Electric Equinox – an EDM experience
featuring Morgan Page, Cazzette and Jayceeoh, 6:30pm
CENTENNIAL EVENTS & FEATURES
100 Days of Giveaways
Facebook users have a shot at winning a Big E prize pack – including a single-day Fair admission ticket and an item from one of our fairtime exhibitors – by entering The Big E’s 100 Days of Giveaways contest! The contest started June 8 and will conclude Sept. 15. A winner is selected at random every day from the growing pool of more than 10,000 applicants. To enter the contest, visit http://smarturl.it/TBE_100Days.
Eastern States Exposition Centennial Exhibit: A Century of Greatness, sponsored by Uncommon USA
Young Building • Daily, 10am – 10pm
The story of Eastern States Exposition retold in photography, memorabilia and artifacts from the past century, featuring historic items from the Exposition’s archives, including trophies and ribbons, pennants, advertising vehicles, posters and more, plus letters from former U.S. presidents, a replica of the famed Skyride, Storrowton Village on a small scale, Brooks’ family possessions donated by the late Grace Brooks Knibbs, granddaughter of Exposition founder, Joshua L. Brooks, and much more.
See the evolution of the fairgrounds and prominent icons of yesteryear – a depiction of the infamous Skyride, the legendary performers that once graced the Storrowton Music Tent and a never-before-seen display on the Exposition’s former Racetrack, featuring a fully restored 1937 Chevy Coupe, driven by #43 Bill Greco.
Commemorative History Books
Eastern States Exposition has partnered with The Republican to produce “Eastern States Exposition Centennial: A Century of Fun at The Big E,” a hard cover, pictorial book to commemorate the Exposition’s 100th anniversary. The 144-page hardbound collectible book highlights the rich history of the Exposition from its founding by Joshua L. Brooks, through the decades with important highlights including the creation of Storrowton Village, the Storrowton Music Tent, hockey in the fabled Coliseum, horse and automobile racing, notable entertainers, natural disasters that befell the grounds, presidential visits, forgotten attractions and more. Pre-order your copy of the book prior to Sept. 1 and save $10 atTheBigE.com/historyBook.
The new “Eastern States Exposition – The Big E” Arcadia Series Book, written by David Cecchi, of Agawam, Mass., will be available for purchase on select days of The Big E in the Centennial Exhibit, located in the Young Building. Author David Cecchi will also be present for book signings.
Rick’s Restorations Presentation
In a special centennial event, Rick and Kelly Dale, of Rick’s Restorations, will return to the Fair to present Eastern States with a vintage, fully restored 1954 Columbia bicycle, Sept. 16 at 2pm on the Court of Honor Stage. The bike was presented to the couple during their appearance at the 2015 Fair and was brought back to its original luster for the 100thanniversary. The program will also include historic items from ESE’s archives.
The Big E Bash
It’s the biggest birthday party of the century! The Big E Bash takes place at the Court of Honor on opening night of the Fair, Sept. 16. Mike Brewer, of Wheeler Dealers, will be the official MC of the evening’s festivities. The Bash, open to VIP ticketholders, begins at 7pm. Tickets include a complimentary drink, hors d’oeuvres, a sundae at the ice cream bar and access to front row at the concert. A limited number of VIP tickets, priced at $49.99 each, are available for purchase beginning Aug. 12 atTheBigE.com/tickets. Tickets include Fair admission when purchased prior to the show date.
CARS, CARS, CARS
Each week at The Big E brings a new group of collector, classic and custom cars that will line the grounds for car enthusiasts of all ages to enjoy. Shows include: The Antique Tractor Show, Sept. 17; Mark’s Classic Cruise Day, sponsored by Mark’s Auto Parts of East Granby, Conn., Sept. 18; Pioneer Valley GTO Association, Sept. 22; AACA Connecticut Valley Region, Sept. 24 and Oct. 1; and Paul Mennett’s “Cruisin’ New England,” on the Avenue of States, Sept. 25, and the xfinity arena, Oct. 2. All shows are 8am – 4pm, weather permitting.
Don’t wave the white flag yet! Velocity channel star, Mike Brewer of Wheeler Dealers will be on the grounds for opening weekend of The Big E, Sept. 16-18. Brewer will help ignite the Fair’s 100th anniversary festivities as the MC of The Big E Bash, Sept. 16 at 7pm. Catch him again at the Court of Honor Stage, Sept. 17 at 2pm for a special Wheeler DealersQ&A. You will also have a chance to see the Velocity star at the Avenue car shows and in the Grande Mardi Gras Parade, Sept. 17 and 18, and co-hosting the Collector Car Experience, Sept. 18, with fellow Velocity star, Chris Jacobs of Overhaulin’.
Collector Car Experience is back for its second year, Sept. 18 at 2pm. Last year, thousands gathered for the inaugural show, which received widespread accolades for being an entertaining automotive event like no other. This year’s show features a lineup of 25 cars from the 1900s to present – covering a broad range of Brass Era cars to Lamborghinis, Ferraris and many more.
All car shows are weather permitting.
The food is the hit of the Fair! From our signature desserts, The Big E Cream Puff and Big Éclair, to The Big E Craz-E Burger, it’s time to dig in! There are hundreds of food locations on the grounds, from sit-down dining at Storrowton Tavern to grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and deep-fried “everything,” you’re sure to find something to please your palate.
New food locations include the Wurst Haus, by the Student Prince, with Bavarian pretzels, Munich Corn Dogs, the “German Giant” (18” bratwurst), fried Camembert, oompah music, handcrafted German beers served in a souvenir “boot,” on Commonwealth Avenue. Plus, The Deep South Company, featuring po’ boys, chicken ‘n waffles, fried green tomatoes, BBQ and southern-style cocktails in the former Italian Pavilion. New foods to try include a mint & peanut butter soft serve ice cream; Navajo Indian Tacos served folded in fried dough; funnel cake fries; chocolate and bacon-covered fries; blueberry pierogi sundae; maple waffle breakfast sandwich; sweet potato dessert fries; a centennial frozen banana; and more.
The Big E is known nationwide for its impressive agricultural showcase. Open show exhibitors as well as FFA and 4-H youth from across the country travel to the Fair to participate in the largest livestock show in the East and native produce competitions. See who will take home the blue ribbon!
Get a glimpse into life on the farm with cows, sheep, goats, llamas and other livestock throughout the Fair. Watch animal showmanship and see a variety of agricultural demonstrations from spinning and weaving demonstrations in the Fiber Nook to milking cows in the new Milking Parlor, sponsored by the Mass. Dairy Promotion Board. In this improved exhibit, see modern milking practices in action and learn about how cows are cared for by your Massachusetts dairy farmers. Learn everything you need to know about dairy products from the Singing Refrigerator. The food artistry team of Jim Victor and Marie Pelton returns to The Big E to create a masterpiece made from 600 lbs. of butter donated by Agrimark/Cabot Creamery dubbed “Centennial Milk Wagon.”
The Big E Wine & Cheese Barn
Award-winning wines from The Big E Northeast Gold Wine Competition and cheeses from The Big E Gold Medal Cheese Competition are on display in The Big E’s Wine & Cheese Barn. Fairgoers (21+ with a valid ID) can sample and buy wines, ciders, and cheeses from throughout New England and New York.
4-H Milk Booth & Apple Booth
Supporting a cause has never tasted this good! Stop by the 4-H Milk Booth located under the Mallary Rotunda to indulge in an old-fashioned chocolate, vanilla or strawberry “Jetshake.” If you’re feeling like having a light, healthy snack, the 4-H Apple Booth in Farm-A-Rama will hit the spot!
Enjoy Farm-A-Rama in a whole different way as we debut the visually-stunning Big Y Farm to Family Table Experience, an immersive environment that includes Hood’s Heart of It All Dining Room. This exhibit highlights how food comes from the farm to the family plate.Join ‘The Naturals’ as they bring you through the whimsical, educational journey of food as it comes from the Farm to your Family’s table.Components are: Lucy the Milking Cow, New England Agriculture Pioneers and interviews with local farmers. Also, the chick hatchery, sow and litter, Hallamore Clydesdales, honey bees and our new pollinator garden, outside.
Saddle up and hold on tight! Take a seat in the grandstands of the Coliseum to watch elegant horses trot, canter and gallop toward the blue ribbon in the Eastern States Exposition Horse Show, a United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Heritage Competition, sponsored by Williams Distributing. The Hunter Show and USHJA Zone 1 HOTY Finals, Sept. 14-18; $15,000 Hunter Classic, Sept. 16; Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Morgans, Friesians, and Open Classes Sept. 22-25; Northeast Six Shooters Demonstration, Sept. 27; UConn Drill Team Oct. 1; Cool Dogs Production, Sept. 28-30 & Oct.2; The Big E Draft Horse Show, Sept. 29-Oct. 2; $35,000 Six-Horse Hitch Showdown, Oct. 2; and the 4-H Horse Show, Sept. 21-24.
The Eastern States Exposition Horse Show was granted the USEF Heritage Competition Designation on July 1. This prestigious designation places the show with an elite group of Federation licensed competitions that have been established for a long period of time and have made substantial contributions toward the development and promotion of the sport.
ESE Equestrian Hall of Fame Presentation
Join us to honor the third inductee into the Eastern States Exposition Equestrian Hall of Fame, Sept. 24 at 6pm! The Exposition’s Equestrian Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to recognize individuals and equines who have demonstrated excellence in their discipline, made significant achievements in the competition world and have made outstanding contributions to the sport and equestrian community. Nominations are open to actively competing or retired horses as well as individuals who have been affiliated with Eastern States Exposition at year-round shows or Big E horse shows. Visit TheBigE.com/EquestrianHOF for a list of past recipients.
More in the Coliseum
Fairgoers can also enjoy competitions in Horse Pulling, Sept. 19, Ox Pulling, Sept. 20, and Sheepdog Trials, Sept. 26 at 11am and 4pm.
NEW ENGLAND CENTER
Home of the Creative Arts, 4-H Clubs, Food Contests and more! Stop by and see what fun, family entertainment is taking place on the New England Center Community Stage and watch creativity at work at the Demonstration Corral. See radio host Howie Carr broadcast live Sept. 22, 3 to 7pm.
Do you have a passion for the arts? Whether you have the talent or like to admire the creativity of others, visit the New England Center to see the display of entries and winners from the Exposition’s annual Creative Arts contests – photography, sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, beading, decorative paintings on fabric, hand weaving and other needlework entries and winners. New this year: The Big E Birthday Hat Decorating Contest, Sept. 16; Plein Air Painting, Sept. 26.
Area bakers and decorators show off their culinary talent in the quest to take home the blue ribbon! The Big E will host the Gold Medal Cookie Contest, Sept. 20 at 10am. The Domino Sugar Cake Decorating Competition and Fabulous Cupcake Contest take place Sept. 22 and 29, respectively. Entries will be on display noon to 8pm during each Domino contest. The Mass. Maple Syrup Dessert Contest will be held Sept. 27 at 10am.
Storrowton Village Museum will take you back in time with its reconstructed, 19th century New England Village surrounding the peaceful Village green. The Fair will be hosting special activities on the green, such as 19th century crafts of broom making, tinsmithing, chair making and paper marbling as well as pottery and antique tool demonstrations, children’s games and tours of historic buildings. Fairgoers will have the opportunity to meet the 2016 Special Olympics Massachusetts National Games Team and learn more about the Special Olympics on the Green Oct. 2, 10:30am to 5pm.
Entertainment in the Village
Come to the Storrowton Village Gazebo to see the Mitchell Marionettes’ Barnum & Baloney Circus, sponsored by Sleepy’s, daily at 11am, 2 and 6:30pm. (No 2pm show on Oct. 2.)
The Bronze Ambassadors, bell ringers from Vermont, join us for a special performance on the Village Green, Sept. 24 at 1 and 3pm. The Village Green will also serve as a stage for numerous marching bands from various states throughout the course of the Fair.
AVENUE OF STATES
Only at The Big E can you visit all six New England States without leaving the fairgrounds. The Avenue of States captures the best each state has to offer, from traditions to music, foods and more. The uniqueness of each building is what makes the Avenue one of the most popular attractions at the Fair every year.
The Avenue celebrates the fall season on Harvest New England Day, Sept. 30 from 10am – 7pm. The lawns of the state buildings will be overflowing with native products and specialty vendors.Fairgoers are encouraged to play the “Passport” game while exploring the buildings. Participants need to get their Passport stamped in all six state buildings and report back to the registration tent before 5pm for the chance to win special prizes.
The buildings and byways of The Big E are filled with shops and vendors to satisfy anyone’s shopping needs. Treat yourself to something special, buy gifts for family and friends or start (and finish) your holiday shopping. Choose from crafts and souvenirs to items from around the world.
Better Living Center
Shoppers’ paradise! In the BLC, find everything from fine jewelry to the latest hair accessories, kitchen gadgets or unique items for your pet. Watch a demonstration and be amazed at how some of the products work. You’ll find everything you could possibly need, from clothes to blenders, all under one roof.
Outdoor Exhibits and Crafts
As you make your way around the fairgrounds, stop by the numerous outdoor shops to find a unique variety of items. Need a new shed, garage or hot tub? We have those outside too. Hampden Avenue, the Carriage House and Craft Common are full of beautifully created crafts. You’ll find jewelry of all types, artwork, piggy banks, dolls, pottery, bird houses and more.
Storrowton Village Shops
The Village Shops are a great place to start your holiday shopping! The Gift Shop in the Phillips House carries colorful fall scarves and accents, novelty dish towels, music boxes, old-time aprons, bicycle bells, an array of jewelry and more. After your tour of the Potter Mansion, stop in the Christmas Shop and Halloween Shop! Storrowton’s Yankee Candle Shop is also close by on the lower level of the Grange Building.
International Plaza in the Young Building
Why bother with the expense of travel when we’ve got you covered! The wonders of the world are just a few feet away! The international plaza has unique and rich cultural amusements, home décor, and keepsakes from India, Ecuador, China, and Thailand right here at the Fair.
Buy Advance Discount Tickets & Save!
Advance discount tickets and Midway Magic vouchers are available online at TheBigE.com and at The Big E Box Office now through Sept. 14 or at Big Y® World Class Market® Aug. 25 through Sept. 14. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children ages 6-12. Advance Midway Magic vouchers are $23, valid any one day Mon. – Fri. or exchange for 24 ride coupons Sat. & Sun.
Opening Day is Friday, Sept. 16 and to celebrate the occasion, The Big E offers many ways to save:
- Be A Kid For A Day – everyone pays the children’s admission of just $10
- My Big Y Day at The Big E – Get your exclusive $6 Opening Day tickets only at Big Y® World Class Markets®.
- Military Appreciation Day, sponsored by VA New England Healthcare System
- Active duty and retired military personnel – Free with ID
- Dependents of active duty military personnel – Free with ID
- Veterans (no dependents) – Free with DD-214 or proof of membership to any veterans’organization
Regular Gate Admission
Adults $15/Children ages 6-12 $10; Children five and under are free. Midway Magic Passes $28, valid any one day Mon. – Fri. Gate tickets and Midway passes sold online at thebige.com and Big Y® World Class Market®, Sept. 15 – Oct. 2. 17-Day Value Passes are $40 for adults and $20 for children ages 6-12. Value Passes are available online now through Oct. 2 and at Big Y® World Class Market® Aug. 25 – Oct. 2.
Six-After-Five – Admission is only $6 after 5pm Mon. – Thurs.
Senior Days – Age 60 and over just $12 Mon. – Thurs.
Big E Hours
Gates are open from 8am – 10pm. Buildings and exhibits open at 10am, Storrowton Village, its Yankee Candle Shop and Avenue of States are open until 9pm. The Village Craft Area is open until 10pm. The North American Midway is open Sun. – Fri., 11am to 10pm, Sat., 10am to 11pm. For tickets, show times and detailed information, visit TheBigE.com.
The Fair takes place Sept. 16 – Oct. 2 and will be jam-packed with food, fun, and so much more! For more information on fun-filled activities and events happening throughout the Fair, visit TheBigE.com, join our mailing list, or call our information line at 413-205-5115. Connect with us on social media for the latest info, contests and more!