Bingeing on Fun at the Big E

Although the Big E or ESE stands for Eastern State Exposition, this fifth letter of the alphabet stands for much, much more. The annual fes...

Although the Big E or ESE stands for Eastern State Exposition, this fifth letter of the alphabet stands for much, much more.

The annual festival, held (as always) in Springfield, MA, was an endorphin-raising, kaleidoscopic smorgasbord of northeastern excitement with lots of entertainment, and of course eating. 

Put it all together and what have you got? Euphoria. And empty pockets by the end of it all.

Twenty minutes after our entry tickets were ripped and our hands were stamped, my friend and I already had bags stuffed with goodies--handmade soaps that smelled like the Adirondacks, balsam pine incense, a copper beaded handbag, a silk shawl with a peacock design, a set of essential oils and shea butter lotions...the list goes on.

Jewelry and other accoutrement vendors were ubiquitous. Colossal pavilions and historical buildings were packed with people within butt-bumping distance, giving live and interactive infomercials about the Shammy "Sham Wow!" dust cloth and demos of the world's greatest cheese grater, others giving electromagnetic stress-reliever consultations, analyzing handwriting, shoving spoons of Italian ice and maple cotton candy into our mouths. Oh, and I'll never forget the old saleslady (with lips like Tweety Bird) who scribbled waterproof color-changing lipstick on my friend's fingertips.

There were lots of things I didn't buy but wish I did. See below!!

Self explanatory ;)

Again, self-explanatory if you've seen me after one glass of Shiraz.

All that was fun. But after shopping like two squirrels searching for the last acorn on earth, our stomachs started to growl. So off to the food stands we went. 

Let's just put it this way: if I received even a half a cent for every calorie at this fair, I could buy Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Google, Yahoo!, and a few oil reserves in Saudi Arabia. And I'd still have leftover change. 

But nobody's counting. 

A few of the Big E's famous delectable, deep-fried diet busters include wide paper boats overflowing with crispy crinkle-cut fries and golden-battered tempura veggies, smoked turkey legs the size of my arm, volcanic baked potatoes brimming with steaming cheddar cheese, hot apple crisp, apple pie and apple cider served by cheerful men and women who probably spent the last ten years of their lives perfecting the recipes but are now literally rolling in dough. 

For dinner, we stopped at the Danny's Little Taste of Texas stand next to the Connecticut state pavilion and shared a baked potato topped with buffalo meat. Yup, you read it! Not buffalo as in buffalo chicken wings. Real buffalo. I was iffy at first, but fell head over heels at the first mouthful.  Is that wrong of me? 

Either way, it was blogworthy. Similar in texture to pulled pork (stringy consistency), it had a soft bite and was savory from the barbecue sauce in which it was smothered. Yeeee haw! 

I'm going to have to take a trip to South Windsor, CT to get some more! Anyone wanna come? 

Oh, Lord. Dessert consisted of the ambrosial cream puff. These massive pastries, piped with what looked like clouds and tasted like eternal salvation, were served by ladies in white hats and smocks who smiled the way I imagine angels do when they greet you in heaven. They were probably high off the same intensely sweet aroma that lured us to the stand.

Have you ever, in your entire life, seen anything this gigundo?

There were lots more good eats and sights to see, but if I go any further, I'll be writing the script for a two-hour Food Network special on state fairs.

Yum is totally the word.



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Anonymous said...

Pumpkin butter!!!

With a little vanilla yogurt and apple sauce. Yum!


Anonymous said...

I want one of those cream puffs!!!!!