We go to the Big E every year.
The Big E, or The Eastern States Exposition, is like the world's fair, but geared towards New Englanders. It has rides, food, animals, vendors, entertainment - something for everyone. It's located in West Springfield, Mass, not far from the Connecticut/Massachusetts line.
My first visit was back when I was in high school. I was in the marching band, and we were invited to march in the parade on Connecticut Day, and then we had the rest of the day to enjoy the park. I looked forward to that every year! After high school, I took many years off from the Big E, just because my life was busy, and the Big E was a bit far for me to visit.
Fast forward to living here in Western Connecticut with my husband and kids, and we get up there every year, no matter what. We love the local fairs, but the Big E is worth the ride and the fun. I've walked the grounds very pregnant and pushed strollers through the crowds as well. I typically get a massage from one of the vendors (I LOVED this when I was pregnant) and I eat way too much. My husband and I enjoy the food and the animals. I gotta thing for cows - especially the swiss! I also love the horse shows. The kids love the rides, the petting zoo, the yummy treats and the circus!
And one of the best things is visiting the state houses, called the "Avenue of States." They set up state houses for the 6 New England states in a row, and you can weave in and out of them, checking out vendors from each state, which includes information about each state, favorite foods known to each, and little shops filled with great trinkets. One year we bought a wooden dog food crate that we STILL keep in our kitchen, and we bought our son's first wooden booster seat/desk/rocking horse that he'll be able to keep forever.
If you get a chance, check out the Big E, which runs from September 14-30. It may be a little bit of a ride, but it's a great day with the family. And if you have little ones, go during the week, if you can, to avoid the big crowds. Montgomery Gentry, Taylor Hicks & Josh Turner are live onstage, if you are interested. Eat a yummy baked potato, some blueberry pie and some chowder!
And enjoy it all!