WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Everyone has their own reason for going to The Big E every year. For many, it’s the food!
Since The Big E began 100 years ago, people have been coming from all over the country and when they come they eat, and they eat a lot.
Food is big business at The Big E. One of the main reasons people come to The Big E is for the food. Some of the vendors have been here since close to the beginning and they offer all sorts of unique foods like fried Oreos.
Glen Bouchard’s family has been operating the Yankee Boy at The Big E for 90 years.
“It started quite a few years ago, 1926 is when my grandfather started down here at The Big E and over the years it progressed in the family. My father actually got involved in the 1950s and he ran it for over 50 years and since I was a kid I’ve been involved in it myself,” said Bouchard.
And over the years the food has changed a bit.
“It progressed from hot dogs and hamburgers to ribs and pulled pork and we got into the lobster dinners and the hot buttered lobster roll became known for and then within the last 5 years we’ve gotten into the exotic line exotic burgers, camel, alligator, kangaroo, and rattlesnake sausage. We’re always trying to find something new for the fairgoers to try,” said Bouchard.
This is the 55th year that Tootsie’s Fried Dough and Jake’s Fries have been at The Big E. Judith Piche’s husband, Jake, is the one who started it all.
“As a farm boy he saw a guy selling french fries. He thought he was making a lot of money he decided to get in the french fry business and 7 years later he started Tootsie’s Fried Dough and we’re going ever since,” said Judith Piche.
And Jack’s Fries are always very popular with fairgoers.
“Hot, greasy and salty that’s the way everybody likes them. You don’t have them all the time so you kind of like pig out once a year,” said Mark Williams of Longmeadow.
So, what’s the secret to making them so good?
“They’re not frozen and they’re fried just right and we put a lot of love into it,” said Piche.
New York Style Pizza has also been a long time vendor at The Big E.
One thing’s for sure… it’s hard to resist the temptation when you’re surrounded by such a variety of great tasting food.
There are more than 140 food locations at The Big E so if you’re on a diet you may have to put it on hold if you’re planning on going or exercise some portion control.