The very first Eastern States Exposition was held in 1916, and in 2020 it marks its 104th anniversary.
The original purpose of the fair, like most state fairs, was to promote the region's farming and agricultural industries by holding competitions, displaying the latest farming technology, and interacting with the public.
Today, the Big E is the only cross-state fair of its kind in the United States, and is ranked sixth among the American agricultural fairs in terms of size. It is held every year in West Springfield, MA for just over two weeks, starting on the second Friday after Labor Day and continuing until the third following Sunday.
The 2020 concert lineup included Marilyn McCoo
and Billy Davis, Jr, and Blue Oyster Cult
2019 Big E concert lineup
Catch the Big E all-star concert lineup at the xfinity arena when the concert lineup is announced in August, and tickets go on sale at BigE.com and Ticketmaster.
The fair features free admission on a first-come first-serve basis, but premium reserved tickets for these shows can also be purchased that includes admission to the fair.
In addition, all shows at the Court of Honor Stage, sponsored by xfinity, are FREE with fair admission, with premimum tickets available for front row seats.
What else to see and do at the Big E
And what would a state fair be without the food? At the Big E, selection can vary from groumet treats to down-home favorites -- including deep-fried hamburgers, taco chompers, and bacon-loaded tater tots! For dessert, the upside down banana split is another popular favorite.
While the Eastern States Exposition began as a farming and agricultural
fair, that tradition also continues with horse shows, petting zoos, and various livestock displays and shows.
It's all about -- the food! -- at BIg E With new tempting entries added to the menu each year.
Another popular attraction is the Avenue of States, which features replicas of the original state houses of the six states involved in the fair. Exhibits and vendors within each house represent their own cultures and traditions with land that each house is built upon actually belonging to their respective state.
Along with carnival rides, Mardi Gras parades, concerts and entertainment, don't miss the reenactment Storrowton Village where fair goers can experience 19th century New England
DID YOU KNOW? Big E trivia & fun facts
Here a chick, there a chick, at Farm-A-Rama:
• How big is the Big E? Covering 175 acres of fairgrounds, the Big E is the largest agricultural event in the northeast and the seventh-largest fair in the nation attracting more than 1.5 million people a year.
• The Big E's chicken hatchery is a major draw for kids of all ages. Three weeks before the fair opens, the hatchery begins putting eggs into incubators to ensure chicks will hatch every day at Farm-A-Rama.
• More than 600 pounds of butter go into making the annual butter sculptures that have been another star attraction at the fair for the past 20 years.
• The Eastern States Exposition was the official name of the fair until 1967, when it took on the easier-to-remember and more popular nickname, "The Big E."
More about the Big E around the Web:
The Big E - The official site with information on the concert lineup, shows and events, admission and ticket prices, directions, map, photos.
The Big E - Wikipedia - Good overview including history, fun facts, fair highlights and related resources.