Equine Affaire: 5 fun facts about the Eastern States Exposition
#1: The Exposition was developed to support New England’s agricultural industry.
The Exposition got its start in 1917 with Joshua L. Brooks’ vision to develop and promote New England’s declining agricultural industry with a general-purpose fair. Within eight months, he and 12 other community leaders had transformed 175 acres of former swampland in West Springfield into a new Exposition Grounds and Park. The first Eastern States Exposition, for which this sprawling facility is now named, opened in the fall of 1917. Now fondly nicknamed “The Big E,” it has become one of New England’s most popular and enduring autumn traditions. For more information on this mega-event, visit The Big E.
#2: The Big E has more than 355,000 square feet of exhibit space.
The Exposition site is a multi-purpose facility with buildings ranging in size from 28,000 sq. ft. to 129,400 sq. ft. That amounts to more than 355,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space according to the venue’s web site. The primary structures on site are the Better Living Center, the Coliseum, the Mallary Complex, the Stroh Building and the Young Building. You’ll find Equine Affaire activities in all five!
#3 The facility hosts many types of events.
The Exposition hosted the New England Equitation Championship on Oct. 19-23 this year. But The Big E hosts many other events. In addition, you’ll find dog shows, fiber festivals, car shows, trade shows and of course multi-state agricultural events. So to check out the Big E calendar!
#4 The venue is home to the third largest fair in North America.
The Exposition’s signature event, “The Big E,” is the third largest fair in North America, based on attendance measured during the 17-day event in 2021. Only by the State Fair of Texas (Dallas), first; and the Arizona State Fair (Phoenix), second, rank higher. “Astoundingly, we beat Minnesota this year!” Eastern States Exposition President and CEO Gene Cassidy noted in a press release about this prestigious milestone. “The Minnesota State Fair is a benchmark in our industry and attracts visitors from all over the state and beyond. We have waited 105 years for this.”
#5 The Exposition features a recreation of a historic town.
The Storrowton Village Museum recreates a village of 18th and 19th century buildings from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It started in 1926 with the notion of moving the expo’s handicraft exhibit to an actual home on the site. Later, an18th century house was moved to the grounds, followed by additional antique buildings. Today, Storrowton Village Museum showcases the region’s history with various exhibits, shops, a carriage house and an authentic New England tavern. Tours are available by appointment by calling (413) 205-5051 or emailing [email protected].
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