Monday, September 22, 2008

The Big E

Today Tina, Donna, and I had a day at The Big E. I had never been, and they convinced me that I was missing out-- I simply had to go, if only to experience it once and never have to go again. After 7 or 8 hours there, I still don't know whether I had a good time. It was completely overwhelming, like a trip to Disneyland, where you're overstimulated and exhausted, only I didn't go on any rides, and the atmosphere wasn't so great.

The day was divided among four activities:
  1. Browsing the vendors. Anything you might see in an infomercial could be purchased for 20% less than infomercial price at one of their four booths strategically located throughout the fair. I decided pretty early on that everything they sell is crap.
  2. Browsing the State buildings. Each state in the Northeast has a building where state-specific vendors would hawk their goods-- these were often better than the general vendors, and included wonderful foods, like in Vermont, apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese.
  3. Browsing the livestock and other live animal quarters. This included guinea pigs, bunnies (though not many), an african gray parrot, pigs, goats, sheep, alpacas, llamas, miniature horses, ponies, regular horses, clydesdales, an Indian bull (it had a hump and was somewhat small), a zebra, a camel, and an elephant. I was surprised at the absence of animal rights protesters, who successfully lobbied for the removal of the camel and elephant rides at my Hometown Fair about 20 years ago. Surprisingly, I didn't see any prize-winning cows, bunnies, or chickens. I think maybe I missed that building, which is too bad, because I don't think we missed any of the vendors from #1.
  4. The Big E Super Circus. Definitely the hilight of the day, this free-with-admission show featured trapeeze artists, dogs jumping through hoops, strong/balancing people, a horse-taming hoop-swinging woman, contortionists, elephants, and of course a clown. My mouth was hanging open the whole time. It was amazing. I know how contortionists work. I knew what to expect. But still, it was incredible. The trapeeze acrobats were incredible. The dogs were fun. The elephants were big. (Because Donna had a scooter chair, we got ringside handicapped seats.) The horses ran in circles a lot, and the woman with them (who is apparently the top-biller) was a little weird. She had a creepy whip that she used and she kept alternating between instructing the horses and sending them out so she could swing from this hoop by her heels. But all in all, the show was great.
We also ate quite a bit (sharing everything): a taco salad, a bloomin' onion, candy, taste-tests of fudge and dips all over the place, maple butter in a cone, a cream puff, a pickle; your general fair fare. Everything was either laden with sugar or oil, or it was a pickle.

Oh, and we saw a 1200 lb pumpkin.

And at the end, there was a parade of shriners driving tiny little cars.

So I guess I had a good time. But I don't think I need to go ever again.

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