|Most of the Avenue of the States|
The sixth largest agricultural fair in the country and the largest in New England, the Big E is the only cross-state agricultural fair in the United States and serves as the "de facto State Fair" for all six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Since the first Exposition in 1917 the only thing that has interrupted the annual tradition was the advent of World Wars I and II, during which time the military requisitioned the grounds for use as storage depots.
One of the most popular attractions at the Big E is the Avenue of States. The avenue contains smaller-scale replicas of the original statehouses of each of the New England states with the land on which they sit being actually owned by the respective states. The State Buildings feature exhibits and vendors which best exemplify the heritage, food, and traditions of each state. In the Rhode Island building that means fritters and chowder, in Vermont it's Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Cabot cheddar cheese, Maine offers up fresh-baked potatoes and blueberries, New Hampshire has everything maple syrup you can think of, Massachusetts has apples of all kinds, and Connecticut ... uhm, what did Connecticut have?? Darned if I can remember and it was even "Connecticut Day" when Jamie and I went to the fair yesterday with my mom and youngest brother, John.
|The Connecticut State Building|
|The line for baked Maine potatoes starts here ...|
|And ends in here!|
Anyhow, the primary reason for going to The Big E this year was because I had entered a couple of pictures in the Photography Competition just to see if I could win me a big ole' ribbon. When I was a kid I always thought the ribbons were the coolest part of the fair and thought it must be real nice to win one to hang on your wall and show off. So, I picked out two pictures and entered them and kept my fingers crossed while dreaming of finally winning a nice satin ribbon to show off.
As it turned out, I did win a ribbon - two in fact; one for Honorable Mention for my entry into the Black & White landscape category and one for First Prize for my entry into the Color Landscape category. However, my dream of having a big ole' ribbon to show off were kind of dashed when I got a look at my pictures on display at the fair ...
|This picture does not do the Cream Puffs justice!|
If you don't like Cream Puffs there were also The Big Eclairs and if you didn't like either of those there were more deep-fried foods then you could shake a stick at available all over the fair. I'm happy to report that I had nothing deep-fried with the exception of some fritters from the Rhode Island Building though had I actually come across the booth for the Deep-Fried Butter I might have succumbed to curiosity! I guess my arteries were keeping me safely away!
Of course Jamie wanted to go check out the rides on the Midway - what kid doesn't? - so while my Mom and John sat inside one of the other buildings out of the sun and watched a short dog show, I took Jamie over to where the-rides-that-I- used-to-love-go-on-as-a-kid-but-can't-really-go-on-anymore-because-I'm-old-and-no-fun were located. I did, however, agree to go on the Big Wheel which is a bit surprising as I really don't like heights.
And as it turns out, neither does Jamie!
But I figured it gave me the chance to take some "aerial" pictures of the fairgrounds ...
And after a little bit Jamie got used to the ride and brightened up!
Back on the ground ...
it was then decided that Jamie was going to take a ride on the swings while I took some pictures.
See? She loosened up a little bit and had a good time flying around. I used to love those sorts of rides but alas, my equilibrium is just not what it used to be so I'm stuck being an old fuddy-duddy and watching other people go on the rides or taking pictures of sun flare!
Shortly after that we met back up with John and Mom and made our way back through the State Buildings to grab goodies to take back to John's wife, Ann, who wasn't able to make the trip with us but, truth be told, I think she made out quite well as John brought her home maple-flavored cotton candy, a one red velvet and one peanut butter Whoopie pie, aged Vermont cheddar cheese, chocolate-dipped fruit, scented soaps from Vermont, and enough candied apples to keep a girl happy for a very long time!
And she didn't even have to walk around in the crowds and the heat which was less than pleasant as it was over 85 degrees yesterday on the first day of fall! Ya know, she's a smart girl that sister-in-law of mine!