More Living Ideas

Our editors share their inspirations every day

hdr_img_spring.jpg Get The Technique

Photo Galleries : Eastern States Exposition (The BIG E!)

Posted by

While folks in New York City were all about the Maker Faire this past weekend, I was in West Springfield, Massachusetts, with my family to check out "The Big E!"

What is "The Big E!" you ask? Well, according to The Big E website, "it's the largest fair in the northeast—a New England extravaganza—with top name entertainment, the Super Circus, the Avenue of States, Storrowton Village Museum, animals, competitive exhibits, rides, shopping, crafts (YAY!), a daily Mardi Gras parade and foods from around the world for 17 days each September...It's the last blast of summer!" If you happen to be in Massachusetts in the coming days, don't miss this chance of a lifetime. Tickets are available through October 3.

Being from Rhode Island, I've been going to The Big E every year since I was very young and have loved every second of it, this year being no exception. It's an extravaganza for the senses—the food, the music, the people, the sites, the smells...did I mention the food? This time around, I went with the hopes of discovering some fun crafts (as well as to revisit all of my annual favorites) and I came back with a bunch of fabulous ideas and a collection of great photographs...

Back
1 of 59
The Big E! - The Eastern States Exposition - West Springfield, MA - September 17th to October 3rd

1 The Big E! - The Eastern States Exposition - West Springfield, MA - September 17th to October 3rd

The family (from left to right) - my father (Jim Sr.), mother (Jane), and boyfriend (Joshua). It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Sunglasses were definitely in order!

2 The family (from left to right) - my father (Jim Sr.), mother (Jane), and boyfriend (Joshua). It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Sunglasses were definitely in order!

The center of the Storrowton Village Museum (right off the Avenue of States) was devoted to craft sales and artisan demonstrations, and was deemed the

3 The center of the Storrowton Village Museum (right off the Avenue of States) was devoted to craft sales and artisan demonstrations, and was deemed the "Craft Common."

This is the first thing we saw upon entering the Craft Common. Whoa.

4 This is the first thing we saw upon entering the Craft Common. Whoa.

Halloween in full swing.

5 Halloween in full swing.

I thought these very simply made pumpkins were really cute.

6 I thought these very simply made pumpkins were really cute.

Bird houses with specialty license plate roofs. Not really my thing, but a great recycling idea. These would look cool with actual weathered license plates on top.

7 Bird houses with specialty license plate roofs. Not really my thing, but a great recycling idea. These would look cool with actual weathered license plates on top.

Simple, antiqued wood and wire spiders, each with a great grin.

8 Simple, antiqued wood and wire spiders, each with a great grin.

A small, hand-crafted lace piano.

9 A small, hand-crafted lace piano.

Hand-made marionettes putting on a show!

10 Hand-made marionettes putting on a show!

In the center of the first craft market, there was...of course...a fresh pickle stand.

11 In the center of the first craft market, there was...of course...a fresh pickle stand.

Joshua preferred the Kosher Dill, while I was more of a Half Sour fan.

12 Joshua preferred the Kosher Dill, while I was more of a Half Sour fan.

I love this sign.

13 I love this sign.

There were a number of artisans demonstrating their various crafts throughout the Craft Common. Here we have a blacksmith (Jos. Clark & Son from Chesterfield, NH) making a hand forged hook.

14 There were a number of artisans demonstrating their various crafts throughout the Craft Common. Here we have a blacksmith (Jos. Clark & Son from Chesterfield, NH) making a hand forged hook.

Handmade brooms from R. Aborm's Brooms, Brushes & Sundries.

15 Handmade brooms from R. Aborm's Brooms, Brushes & Sundries.

A furniture craftsman, surrounded by his many fabulous tools, demonstrating how to repair a chair.

16 A furniture craftsman, surrounded by his many fabulous tools, demonstrating how to repair a chair.

This gentleman is preparing paint on top of a solution bath to make Turkish Style Marbled Paper. It was such a treat to be able to watch him work.

17 This gentleman is preparing paint on top of a solution bath to make Turkish Style Marbled Paper. It was such a treat to be able to watch him work.

The finished product when he applies the paint by dragging a damp piece of alum-treated paper across it.

18 The finished product when he applies the paint by dragging a damp piece of alum-treated paper across it.

The bath immediately after.

19 The bath immediately after.

Fresh, handmade paper drying under the tent.

20 Fresh, handmade paper drying under the tent.

A couple of great examples of his work.

21 A couple of great examples of his work.

Another really gorgeous piece.

22 Another really gorgeous piece.

Next was the Avenue of States where each New England state is represented by a building. (And the crafts continued!) Pottery in the Maine building.

23 Next was the Avenue of States where each New England state is represented by a building. (And the crafts continued!) Pottery in the Maine building.

And some very pretty vases with frogs already in the bottom of them.

24 And some very pretty vases with frogs already in the bottom of them.

In the Connecticut building there was a fabulous ear of corn made from recycled, plastic, gallon jugs (from spring water or milk), painted yellow.

25 In the Connecticut building there was a fabulous ear of corn made from recycled, plastic, gallon jugs (from spring water or milk), painted yellow.

Also in the CT building - Woody from Toy Story...made out of Legos!

26 Also in the CT building - Woody from Toy Story...made out of Legos!

The best part of the Big E is the food. We ate so many delicious and bad-for-you things...

27 The best part of the Big E is the food. We ate so many delicious and bad-for-you things...

These are actually for dogs...but they still look delicious!

28 These are actually for dogs...but they still look delicious!

Maple syrup in the New Hampshire building.

29 Maple syrup in the New Hampshire building.

Maple cream cones in the Vermont building.

30 Maple cream cones in the Vermont building.

The most delicious thing you will ever eat. Apple pie with white Cabot cheddar cheese on top. Only $5. Joshua and I each got one.

31 The most delicious thing you will ever eat. Apple pie with white Cabot cheddar cheese on top. Only $5. Joshua and I each got one.

Then it was off to the Farm-A-Rama building.

32 Then it was off to the Farm-A-Rama building.

More ribbon winning veggies.

33 More ribbon winning veggies.

The winner of the pumpkin decorating contest. This entry saw pumpkins in not only Charlie Brown, but in Snoopy and Woodstock too.

34 The winner of the pumpkin decorating contest. This entry saw pumpkins in not only Charlie Brown, but in Snoopy and Woodstock too.

I love this pumpkin pig.

35 I love this pumpkin pig.

A little holiday deconstruction.

36 A little holiday deconstruction.

This was actually my favorite entry. It only won fourth place!

37 This was actually my favorite entry. It only won fourth place!

It wasn't just plants and vegetables at the Farm-A-Rama -- there were baby pigs too!

38 It wasn't just plants and vegetables at the Farm-A-Rama -- there were baby pigs too!

And a chick hatchery.

39 And a chick hatchery.

Then it was off to the Mallory Complex where exhibitors can show off their livestock and participate in various competitions.

40 Then it was off to the Mallory Complex where exhibitors can show off their livestock and participate in various competitions.

Fluffy tailed cows!

41 Fluffy tailed cows!

A not-so-happy sheep being sheared.

42 A not-so-happy sheep being sheared.

More shearing.

43 More shearing.

To keep her wool clean for showing, this sheep dons an interesting looking number...complete with matching hood.

44 To keep her wool clean for showing, this sheep dons an interesting looking number...complete with matching hood.

Newly shorn wool at the entrance of the

45 Newly shorn wool at the entrance of the "Fiber Nook."

Prize winning wool!

46 Prize winning wool!

Before wool can be worked with it needs to be cleaned and combed.

47 Before wool can be worked with it needs to be cleaned and combed.

Then it is spun into yarn (as these kind ladies are demonstrating) on spinning wheels.

48 Then it is spun into yarn (as these kind ladies are demonstrating) on spinning wheels.

More yarn spinning. I think that's a very reasonable place to store one's Cheezits.

49 More yarn spinning. I think that's a very reasonable place to store one's Cheezits.

The resulting yarns can be dyed any number of beautiful colors.

50 The resulting yarns can be dyed any number of beautiful colors.

Sundry threads and yarns of varying colors.

51 Sundry threads and yarns of varying colors.

With the yarn and thread complete, it's time to weave with it. Here's a great example of a hand operated loom.

52 With the yarn and thread complete, it's time to weave with it. Here's a great example of a hand operated loom.

And another. Notice the various examples of other smaller hand looms displayed on this one.

53 And another. Notice the various examples of other smaller hand looms displayed on this one.

This tapestry was made by a 4-H group using a wet felting technique. It has a really lovely organic look and feel to it.

54 This tapestry was made by a 4-H group using a wet felting technique. It has a really lovely organic look and feel to it.

At the end of the day (while searching for pastry), I discovered a number of gorgeous quilts. This one was done by Barbara Sirois of Wilbraham, Mass.

55 At the end of the day (while searching for pastry), I discovered a number of gorgeous quilts. This one was done by Barbara Sirois of Wilbraham, Mass.

This pentagon- and trapezoid-themed quilt was done by Sharon Doughty of Ludlow, Massachusetts.

56 This pentagon- and trapezoid-themed quilt was done by Sharon Doughty of Ludlow, Massachusetts.

A turtle-themed quilt by Karen Waggon from Bethel, Connecticut.

57 A turtle-themed quilt by Karen Waggon from Bethel, Connecticut.

I love the colors and patterns in this quilt by Joy Brennan of Hadley, Massachusetts.

58 I love the colors and patterns in this quilt by Joy Brennan of Hadley, Massachusetts.

And finally, a smart looking green and white quilt from Victor Alliston of Enfield, Connecticut. The Big E was great fun this year! I can't wait until next year!

59 And finally, a smart looking green and white quilt from Victor Alliston of Enfield, Connecticut. The Big E was great fun this year! I can't wait until next year!

Comments (9)

  • That ear of corn made from milk jugs is awesome! Thanks for the tour.

  • Wow, amazing photos! Thank you for sharing with us. It looks like it was a fantastic experience.

  • I love the pictures they was so awesome i love the fact that there is still people making good HOMEMADE FOOD, thank you so much for sharing.

  • I've grown up on The Big E! too. I was raised and currently live just a town over from West Springfield. I purchased paper from that paper marbelizer a few years ago. Its so beautiful I haven't used it for anything yet. Perhaps I should frame it!

  • Thank you so much for showing us these interesting photos. Now I will make plans to attend this fair.

  • Does anyone know where I can purchase the beautiful lace shown in photo 9? I would love to use it with some of my craft projects. Thanks, Marcy

  • RE photo number 5, are there other designs of that type. Where can I find out about them?

  • whoops, I meant photo number 9, not 5 when I asked my previous question on other designs. I am interested in lace pieces. Exactly how big are they?

  • RE: Photo 55
    I recently discovered the photo on your blog and would like to comment. I designed the quilt as a family tree. My husband and I are in the center block with names and birthday information. The wedding date is underneath. His parents are above us and my parents are below us. Children and grandchildren off to the side. The appropriate date is embroided in each of the blooks. The leaves always point to the next generation. It has won several ribbons. I've only been quilting since 2003

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.