Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How Does It All Come Together?

As a child, I remember looking forward to the magic that was The Big E. It was one of the staples in my family's fall schedule; the other being "The First Day of School" and clearly the latter wasn't the highlight of my September.

We'd show up, and the lights would be dazzling, the vendors would be serving fried dough and corn dogs, and children would already be screaming as they swished down the Big Yellow Slide. I'd stand in line as my parents anxiously waited for a Maine Baked Potato, and then we'd sit on the Avenue of States, eating an array of local fare and watching the spectacular Mardi Grad parade. A thousand thoughts would cross my mind on that special night each year, like "How do you run away with the circus?" and "How many people have gotten sick from that crazy twisting rollercoaster?" but never once did it occur to me "How did this all happen?"

Even as a teenager, when I would come to the Fair with my friends and we would spend all of our quarters at the games on the Midway, in an attempt to win a stuffed animal, it still never occurred to me that there must be months and months of organization that goes into systematizing a 17-day fair.

The performers didn't just show up at the Comcast Arena Stage, local radio stations didn't just start promoting Big E shows on their own, and the Cream Puff Bakery didn't just magically start producing those little delicious pieces of heaven. There are actually dozens of people behind Eastern States Exposition that get "the ship to sail" for three weeks every fall by organizing hundreds of vendors, carnies and employees to carry it all out.

It wasn't until this May when I really realized how much effort went into organizing the Northeast's largest fair, and it won't be until the Fair comes alive on Sept. 17 that I'll really see the end product. As the new summer writer for the Marketing department, I am so excited to see the Fair from a completely different perspective- behind the scenes. I get to see, and even more importantly, be a part of all the intricate workings that make The Big E... THE BIG E!!!

My guess is that most of the common fairgoers don't really know how a production this big comes together either. Who writes the guidebook? Who decides what the special theme of the Creative Arts contests will be? How many sheep are in Farm-A-Rama? Who books the entertainment? My hope is to use this space to answer some of these questions, and give you an in-depth insight to what is new and exciting this year at The Big E, and all in the perspective of a Big E "newbie."