Located in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on 175 acres, Eastern States Exposition is home to more than 100 shows and events including The Big E, the largest fair in the Northeast, as well as Storrowton Village Museum and Storrowton Tavern, which are open year-round. Eastern States Exposition was founded in 1916 and is a not-for-profit agricultural, educational institution.
Eastern States Exposition is organized as a not-for-profit corporation under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to:
• Provide an educational experience for urban and rural persons, especially youth, through programs and exhibitions designed to include local and regional participation, demonstration and competition.
• Provide a show window to present the agricultural and other resources of the Northeast and beyond.
• Provide regional facilities for use in serving the best interests of New England and the Northeast.
• Focus attention on the New England heritage and its pioneering spirit that contributes to continuing progress.
The Eastern States Exposition Foundation was created to maintain and develop programs that promote youth education, agriculture education, history and leadership.
ESE calendar of events: http://thebige.ntelligentsystems.com/ns/calendar/calendar.asp
History of Eastern States Exposition
The Exposition of today features a cavalcade of trade and consumer shows and events, agricultural activities and competitions, horse shows and entertainment in addition to The Big E. During the year, the Exposition hosts over 100 such events including the Western Massachusetts Home Show, antiques and collectibles shows, food shows, a boat show, a sportsman's show, EASTEC - the largest machine tool trade show in the East and many, many more. A majority of these events take place in the 123,000 square foot Better Living Center. Some utilize the entire 355,000 square feet of rental space available on the grounds.
Part of the original motivation for creating the Exposition was to encourage the productive development of young people. This emphasis on youthful accomplishment is reflected in the many activities and facilities available on the grounds. Many major youth organizations are represented during The Big E. FFA, 4-H and the Boy and Girl Scouts are among the groups who participate with their livestock, agricultural exhibits and displays. In the New England Center, people will find a wide array of exhibits and demonstrations by these young people. The Mallary Agricultural Complex houses all production livestock including dairy cattle, steer and dairy calves which the 4-H girls and boys show during the Fair. The hundreds of young people participating in The Big E sleep and take meals in the Horace A. Moses building. This significant building is nationally known as the birthplace of the nation-wide Junior Achievement program, which was conceived and originated by Mr. Moses in the early 1900's.
During The Big E, over 25 breeds of cattle, sheep, goats and hogs are on display in livestock events. Breeders from all over the country and from other nations enter their animals in this, the largest livestock show in the East. The title, "Eastern States Exposition Grand Champion," is the coveted prize at stake.
In addition to the livestock shows, New England traditions such as pulling contests and cow milking can be experienced at The Big E. The preservation of the New England states' agricultural land is also encouraged through live exhibits and "hands on" demonstrations of farming techniques and innovations. The Avenue of Agriculture showcases animals and informative exhibits on agriculture and its uses in daily life.
One of the oldest and most prestigious in the country, the Eastern States Exposition Horse Show is an eagerly-anticipated event. Additional equine events include the 4-H Horse Show and the Draft Horse Show.
Many of the nation's finest craftspeople and artisans exhibit their work in Craft Common on the back green of Storrowton Village and along Hampden Avenue. On the Village green, visitors will find 19th century craft demonstrators as well as family entertainment on the gazebo. Traditional Early American crafts and chores are demonstrated within the historic buildings that comprise the Village.
When frivolity is in order, fairgoers can step onto the Magic Midway - the world's largest traveling midway - featuring the 115 foot high Giant Wheel, and the Drop of Fear, rides, games and many other attractions. Especially for children, The Big E offers kiddie rides, a petting zoo, barnyard friends and camel and elephant rides. As evening approaches, the whole fair celebrates with the Grande Parade, and as of 2000, the spectacular Mardi Gras Parade featuring six authentic, custom built floats direct from New Orleans.
The Big E also features free entertainment such as a circus, exhilarating band concerts, demonstrations by celebrity chefs and top-name talent. Memorable shows have included such stars as Reba McEntire, Clint Black, George Jones, The Judds, Willie Nelson, Destiny's Child and Jessica Simpson.
Restaurant facilities, offering everything from a snack to a meal - and featuring foods from different regions and nations, are found throughout the grounds. The Exposition also maintains its own security, fire and first-aid facilities for the safety and convenience of its Fair visitors.
Eastern States Exposition is organized as an educational institution under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its governing body is a volunteer Board of Trustees consisting of representatives from each of the six New England States. These New England Trustees are distinguished civic, business and agricultural leaders.
Due to this kind of generosity and commitment shown by the people of New England - who have made The Big E one of their own traditions - Eastern States Exposition is entirely self-supporting. It relies solely on the revenues it obtains through year-round building rentals and Big E gate admission to finance its complete operation. The Exposition receives no government subsidies of any kind nor any revenues generated by year-round events.
Begun with the dream of keeping business, industry and agriculture alive and thriving in New England, Eastern States Exposition has more than fulfilled the initial hopes of its creators. It remains a site for celebration, a central showplace for the creative, industrial and agricultural resources of the Northeast and a reflection of the best of the region's people.