The Big E
County fairs are everywhere, but there’s only one Big E. And the 17-day autumn extravaganza begins this year on September 13.
Almost 1.5 million people now attend this orgy of entertainment, exhibits and agriculture celebrating all six New England states. There are three stages (the biggest, the Big E Arena has 6300 seats and features big names like Carly Rae Jepsen), a Mardi Gras Parade every day of the week (Grande sized from Friday through Sunday, and you can even ride on a float for an extra $15), a Circus Spectacular, and entertainment for all ages. There are amusement rides and a midway. There’s are all sorts of contests, including one for wines. There are even life-size butter sculptures. No matter how much time you spend here, you can’t hope to see it all.
And, of course, there’s plenty to eat. There are literally dozens of locations for meals, snacks and beverages. After you expend a few calories, you might even want to look into the Big E’s two signature desserts – the Big E Cream Puff (now with chocolate ganache on top if you want!) and its cousin, the Big Éclair, both of which are made on premises at the Big E Cream Puff Bakery in the New England Center. Can’t wait? You can actually pre-order them.
Gates open at 8 am,, with agricultural activities beginning early in the morning, and food concessions open for breakfast. Other exhibits and buildings open at 10 AM, and stay open until 10 at night. Opening day tickets are just $10, with military personnel and dependents free with ID; advance tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children 6-12 if you purchase through September 11 (at the gate they’re $15 and $10.) You can also get a pass for all 17 days ($40 adults; $20 children) or a Midway Magic Pass (unlimited midway rides for $25 a day, Monday through Friday.) Note that regular admission doesn’t include midway rides, exhibits, games or Big E Arena premium reserved seats.