Big E still 'nothin' but a good time'

Crowds at the 2009 Big E can expect $1.7 million worth of entertainment this year that includes a petting zoo and the famous Big E Cream Puffs and Eclairs.
Reminder Publications submitted photo
By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WEST SPRINGFIELD -- The musical acts are booked and ready to pump up the crowds; the butter is ready for sculpting and the rides are geared up for amusement. Yes, it's that time of year again -- three weeks of non-stop entertainment at The Big E.

Eastern States Exposition boasts over $1.7 million in free entertainment this year, along with some of the hottest acts from back in the day beginning Sept. 18. The most commercially successful male R&B group of all time, Boyz II Men will grace the Comcast Arena Stage "one sweet day" this month and Bret Michaels will try to make sure fairgoers have "nothin' but a good time" this year.

"A visit to the Big E has become a fall tradition for many people," Wayne McCary, president of Eastern States Exposition (ESE), said. "It's a celebration where, no matter what your age, there is something here to enjoy in a family-friendly environment."

New offerings this year include the 007 James Bond Spiral Stunt Car Exhibit. The famous 1974 AMC Honda from the 1974 Bond movie "The Man with the Golden Gun" -- that was used to complete the Astro Spiral 360-degree jump in one take -- will be on display thanks to creator Jay Milligan. He still refuses to reveal the secret of the jump but Milligan will be on hand for the opening exhibit on Sept. 18 for those fairgoers brave enough to ask.

"I never thought the car was still intact," John Juliano, special events coordinator for ESE, said upon seeing Milligan's collection of Bond memorabilia last year.

"He decided that if he was ever going to display it, it would be at The Big E," Juliano added.

Old favorites at this year's fair will include the Sea Lion Splash; The Big E Super Circus; livestock contests at the Mallary Complex; shopping and eating unique treats along the Avenue of States; and demonstrations of 19th century life at Storrowton Village Museum.

"[Fairgoers] think we close down the building or mothball the buildings or put them away [after each Big E Fair]," Dennis Picard, director of Storrowton Village Museum, said. "People are really surprised [to learn] about the other events we do throughout the year."

He added that he looks forward to educating more fairgoers about the year-round events at the museum as well as allowing them to participate in hearth-cooking demonstrations, work in the blacksmith shop, children's games and colonial crafts at this year's Big E.

The 2009 Big E will take place Sept. 18 to Oct. 4.

Advance tickers cost $10 for adults and $8 for children age six to 12. Advance 17-Day Value Passes are $35 for adults and $23 for kids. Advance Midway Magic Passes cost $20 and are valid any one-day, Monday through Thursday.

Regular admission costs $12 for adults and $8 for children, Monday through Thursday; Friday through Sunday cost $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Gate admission after 5 p.m. costs $5.

For ticket purchases and a complete calendar of events for The Big E, visit

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