Amidst the consumption of cotton candy and the catching of Mardi Gras beads from the costumed revelers during the parade, The Big E is also a giant classroom, filled with learning experiences for fairgoers of all ages.  Everyone can enjoy the authentic and historic 19th century buildings of Storrowton Village, where costumed docents will answer all of your questions, from what the politics of the day were to how to churn butter.  Learn about the histories of our six New England States on the Avenue of States, and even try some traditional fare! Visit the Mallary Complex for an array of agricultural educational demonstrations; and inside Farm-A-Rama, the kids will just love Lucy, the mechanical cow, which is a hands on exhibit on how to milk a cow!

In addition to the food, fun and ferris wheel, educational opportunities abound for children and adults of all ages at The Big E. From agriculture to the Avenue of States, there is something for everyone and plenty of knowledge to go around. The fairgrounds can be a great place to learn about everything from milking cows to discovering 19th century life at Storrowton Village Museum. Download any one or all of the nine available MP3 Audio Tours and begin your tour. Or simply take a stroll through the Fair and discover education along the way.

A traditional part of life in New England is agriculture, and The Big E presents a number of production livestock shows as well as 4-H and FFA events. In addition, for its largely urban and suburban audience, the Exposition provides a number of Ag Education opportunities. Children and adults can step into the Mallary Complex and take an educational self-guided excursion of the world of agriculture and livestock.

The Mallary Complex has everything an inquiring mind would like to know about agriculture and livestock. There is an exhibit complete with animated dairy products in a "refrigerator singing revue" which tunefully teaches folks all about nutrition along with the 3-A-Day dairy game show. Free educational "Fact Sheets" are available for fairgoers with information on the 25 species of livestock exhibited at The Big E.

The Fiber Nook gives audiences the chance to see products made from animal crude fiber to finished clothing of both wool fiber and camelid fiber. There are always numerous demonstrations happening, too. Come see sheep shearing, goat milking and herding.

There is even a butter sculpture exhibit where artist Jim Victor uses over 500 pounds of sweet cream butter to create a special scene! Come watch Jim, Sept. 14-23, as he designs his natural creation in a specially made cooler. The sculpture, located by the Christmas tree display and our historic tractor exhibit under the Mallary Complex Rotunda, will be on display for the remainder of the Fair.

At The Milking Parlor, children and adults have the opportunity to learn about various aspects of dairy farming and milking cows. Spectators get the chance to watch the actual milking process and view an informative video about the dairy industry. You can't leave until you try a thick frosty milk shake or a cool glass of moo juice, both served at the Dairy Bar under the Rotunda.

And speaking of milking cows, you might want to hone your milking skills at the mechanical cow exhibit in Farm-A-Rama. This fully-functioning life-size mechanical cow allows fairgoers to try their hand at milking a cow. Learn the proper milking techniques; then test your abilities and see how well you do.

And the Farm-A-Rama fun doesn't stop there. Learn about the growth of chicks while watching them actually hatch from their eggs! The Farm-A-Rama stage is where the audience gets to interact with the entertainers while acquiring more agricultural knowledge. Don't forget to check out the Hallamore Clydesdales and learn about the care and grooming of these gentle giants or watch them get hitched for the Daily Parade.

Nestled in a shady corner of Eastern States Exposition, Storrowton Village Museum offers the opportunity to glimpse a bit of life as it was in 19th century New England. Clad in garb reflecting that of 160 years ago, volunteers guide visitors through the furnished rooms of Storrowton Village and are happy to assist with any questions. During The Big E, fairgoers can see what it was like to attend classes at the one-room school house, watch the blacksmith going about his daily work at the forge and witness demonstrations of traditional Early American crafts and trades. Early American Children's Games get kids involved in sack races, three-legged races, hoop rolling and more; a fun way to learn about life in a bygone era.

After living it up in the past, visitors can head over to the Avenue of States and learn more about the six New England States. Take a self-guided tour of New England by visiting each regal state building along the Avenue and learn about the products, resources, geography, culture, native crops and foods of each state. Audio tours of each state building are also available.

Make the New England Center a stop on your educational tour where you'll find everything from fabric and fiber arts to The Big E Bakery with the Fair's signature Cream Puffs and Eclairs. All Creative Arts Show entries will be on display, and volunteers will be on-hand to demonstrate many of the techniques used to create the works of art and to answer your questions.

The New England Center is also the fairtime home to a variety of federal, state and community organizations

that can help you in times of need, offer volunteer opportunities or highlight nearby recreational options. Some of the highlights include the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service booth where you can learn more about the invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle. The Springfield Veterans Center, Northampton Veterans Center and Disabled American Veterans booths are ready to provide a variety of information on available services for veterans and their families.

Friendly 4-H youngsters will also be in the New England Center with games and craft activities for kids to make souvenirs to bring home to their families. Learn all about 4-H and the opportunities it offers kids to learn about everything from gardening to raising livestock.

The Big E is full of educational and exciting events for people of all ages to enjoy. Everything from history to milking cows to crafts and New England culture can be found at The Big E. Come by and see what you can learn today.



Click for the latest West Springfield weather forecast.