by Ali Izzi
100 years ago began the Western Mass. tradition of a monumental fair called the Big E. The word “Big’, of course, being an understatement as the century-long festival is ranked sixth in the United Stated for its large size.
Located barely twenty minutes from campus, many Springfield College students, faculty, and staff attend the fair with families and friends, emerging themselves in the unrealistic range of sounds, eye-catching sights, mouth-watering food and never-ending adventure. In just the first two days the fair’s attendance has skyrocketed over 200,000 New Englanders and out-of-region tourists a like.
The fair hosts everything from vendors, to carnival rides, to food and even State days. Since the event is a culminating recognition of all of New England’s states, each one has its own day dedicated to all that it has to offer, as do all of the Western Mass. regions. Each day celebrates with a different parade and each State has their own tent where visitors can try local delicacies, shop for local apparel and learn about the history they have to offer.
This year the Big E includes features such as the Giant McDonald’s Slide, the famous Budweiser Clydesdales Display, a Big Top Circus and even a nightly Mardi Gras parade. The fair began Friday Sept. 16 and runs for seventeen days, closing its gates on Oct. 1. The gates open daily at 8 a.m. with the last section closing at 11 p.m. Tickets are $15.00, but ask any Big E veteran, and they will advise to bring plenty of cash for the endless variety of food and drink vendors available at the fair.