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The Encyclopedia of Fall: E is For Big E

The Encyclopedia of Fall: E is For Big E
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Livestock Show
Photo/Art by courtesy of Big E
The Big E began in 1917, when Joshua L. Brooks opened an agricultural fair in West Springfield, Massachusetts, to the public. Farming in New England had diminished, and production costs were escalating. Brooks’s vision was to bring the six New England states together to improve agricultural techniques through demonstration and competition. For a dairy show in 1916, he’d purchased 175 acres of what had once been swampland; the Eastern States Exposition was born the following year. It has run uninterrupted since then, except for a few years during both World Wars, when the military claimed the grounds as a storage depot. Today, The Big E is said to be the largest fair in the Northeast, with more than 1,200,000 visitors each year. The 2012 event is set for September 14-30: thebige.com

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