Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2011 Big E Wrap-up!

Sorry I didn’t get around to updating the blog as much as I would have liked. So much to do, so little time! But let me say, the 2011 Big E made nothing short of a lasting impression on everyone.

The Fair has officially closed its doors, with a grand total of 1,201,428 guests who came and experienced the sights, sounds and tastes that the 2011 Big E had to offer. Throughout the course of the 17 days, three daily attendance records were broken, Opening day, 60,744, the third Friday with 90,549 and the last Sunday with an impressive 136,412.

The weather throughout the course of the Fair was like a trip down the Yellow Slide: up and down… Some days were hot and humid, some rainy and with cooler temperatures. Regardless, Big E fans from all over New England ventured out to enjoy themselves. Rain or shine.

I was lucky enough to experience the set-up of the Fair, which was of course very exciting. I just couldn’t wait for the first day! Unfortunately all that is left now are the memories made this Fair season and the sound of vendor trucks and cleaning crews making their way past the Brooks building. The 17 days went by in the blink of an eye. I can’t believe it is already over :(.

I will share some of my memories with you, from highlights that made the Fair so memorable to exhibits, food and entertainment that I got to experience firsthand.

Let’s start with food – although not because I’m hungry…

With popular fair food favorites such as the Big E Craz-E Burger and of course, the Cream Puffs and Eclairs, fairgoers tried their taste buds on many other taste sensations that made their debut. We all know that one of the reasons we all venture out to the Fair is of course, the thousands of choices of food… Should I have the cream puff or the éclair…I’ll take both!

I personally sunk my teeth into a Corn Cake Pulled Pork Muffin from Scirrotto’s Cinnamon City. The creamy barbeque sauce with mouth-watering pulled pork and generously topped with coleslaw, instantly sent my taste buds on a roller coaster ride. This concoction was just one entry in The Big E Corn Challenge. If you missed it this year, not to worry, I spoke with the creator and it will be back in 2012.

Other entries that participated were Corn Poppers from Osborne Mushroom Farm, Red’s Tutti Frutti Popcorn from Red’s Red Apples and Deep Fried Shepard’s Pie from EB’s.

CBS3 Springfield hosted a poll on their website where fairgoers who tried these new foods could vote for their favorite. The winner was EB’s Ed Borgatti, with Deep Fried Shepard’s Pie, which received 65% of the overall votes. Didn’t get to try it? Ed says to look out for it on the menu at his restaurant, in Agawam, Mass., as soon as late October.

But wait that’s not all! Red Velvet Funnel Cake, Deep Fried Whoopie Pies, Fried Kool Aid, Deep Fried Twinkies and Fried Brownie Bits also shared the menu with the many foods fairgoers have come to love. At The Big E, you’ll never leave hungry!

The Comcast Arena Stage brought spectacular entertainment! A SOLD OUT Blake Shelton Concert, Country Superstar Reba, and Darius Rucker. I was lucky enough to attend the Reba concert on the final Sunday and boy does she know how to put on a great show! Even though the sky let a little rain out before the show began, you couldn’t have asked for more perfect concert weather.

That was not the only stage that brought top-notch entertainment to the Fair this year. The Court of Honor stage hosted the talents of Extreme Vegas, Frankie Lymon’s Legendary Teenagers, The Buckinghams and Yvonne Elliman. Galaxy Girl also swayed atop a 120’ pole and impressed audiences with her impressive handstands, with absolutely no safety devices.

I also had the opportunity to view a showing of Bixby’s Rainforest Rescue. The show was both educational and interactive. Children were in awe as Bixby showed many different animals, including Allie the 18 foot-long albino Burmese python. Bixby made learning about the environment and his other animal friends who live in it, that much more exciting with his upbeat personality. Definitely was a show that would keep the kids entertained and have them smiling from ear to ear.

The Circus Around The Clock exhibit, sponsored by Uncommon USA was truly something special. It depicted a day-in-the-life story of the largest circus of all time, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The exhibit was filled with historic photographs, memorabilia and film footage as well as the Mother Goose Float, a brilliantly carved circus parade wagon that was built in the mid 1800s for Barnum & Bailey’s glorious horse-drawn street parade. This exhibit was truly an eye-opening experience for those fairgoers who experienced it for themselves.

"America’s Best Clown,” Bello Nock, not only put on a spectacular show under the Big Top with a team of acts including Olate Dogs, Juggler Picasso, Jr., Alexandra’s Net Trapeze and The Big E Super Circus Elephants, but he surprised fairgoers with a walk over the high-wire September 27. The stunt was 70 feet in the air and the wire was 50 feet long. I got to witness it for myself as Bello completed the stunt with ease. There was also a familiar face atop the Circus Tent as well, ESE President Wayne McCary.

There sure was a lot going on this year. I could write on and on about everything that happened over the course of the 17 days. As I sit here writing this blog, I can hear the sweeper crews and trucks pass by the window. It seems as though the Fair just started, and it’s already over. Where will I get my cream puff now? I guess I’ll have to wait until next year…

Be sure to visit TheBigE.com for details as plans begin to take shape for next year’s Fair, which will be taking place September 14– 30, 2012. Also, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and join our mailing list - all from our home page.

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