The Big E!
The Big E, aka the Eastern States Exposition, is the New England version of the State Fair, complete with produce competitions, sheepdog demonstrations, a whole bunch of rickety looking amusement park rides, and more vendors than you can shake a stick at. Any food you can think of, you can get deep fried. All this, of course, appealed greatly to my sensibilities, as well as those of Eric and Mark. It took some convincing for Jennifer, but we managed to get her to come with us. So, on September 23rd, we headed west for the Fair, along with a group of Eric's friends from across the river.
Our first stop inside the gates was to get some food. Beth chose the deep fried cheese curds, which she swore tasted good, although the rest of us didn't believe it. Some of us opted instead for the deep fried vegetables. In Japanese restaurants, this would be called tempura, but I don't think the average Japanese restaurant uses as much batter in an entire evening as we consumed in one onion blossom.
After sustenance, we headed to the Farm-A-Rama shed for some Farm Trivia, which turned out to be some woman from Texas explaining how "all y'all" is the plural of ""y'all", and how the only difference between brown eggs and white eggs is the color of the shell. The rest of the shed was far more interesting, especially the giant pumpkins, the llamas (from the Me Llama Farm) and the Future Farmers of America exhibits, which seemed to consist of grass and lots of wicker.
The highlight of the day was definitely the sheep shearing. We all gathered round as a local who seemed tro have some experience in this matter pulled a random sheep out of a pen, flopped her on her butt, and proceeded to shave away. It was amazing! He got the whole thing off in one piece, while talking to us, and without managing to upset the sheep very much. She just sat there and took it.
The same shed that played host to all the sheep happened also the be the home of the most magnificent giant butter sculpture I've ever seen. Of course, being a city kid, I've never really been exposed to giant butter sculptures, but I highly recommend them. This one was remarkable both for the giant heart and for the Egyptian figure with "Got Milk?" carved above it on the wall.
I won't say the trip was an unqualified success. Jennifer was decidedly underwhelmed, but Eric, Mark and I are all planning a return trip.
© 2001-2002 Matthew S. Burfeind
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Last revised Sunday, May 12, 2002