The 2016 Big E was the third most attended Fair to date and set five daily records: Opening Day with 86,204 visitors; Sept. 17 with 116,602 guests; Sept. 20 with 56,424 visitors; Sept. 25 with 132,041 visitors; and Sept. 29 with 84,111 guests. The Fair began with hot and humid summer weather but by the end of the 17 days, the brisk autumn air took over. Regardless of the few rainy days, the centennial was a huge success!
There was entertainment for the whole family every day of the Fair. Kicking off the centennial at The Big E Bash on Opening Night, Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra set the stage for amazing concerts to follow, and Electric Equinox presented by Morgan Page closed out the Fair. Big name performers like X Ambassadors, Elle King, Lee Brice and Maren Morris took the xfinity arena stage and wowed the crowds. Mike Brewer returned for the second Collector Car Experience. The Big E Circus Spectacular and the White Hut Cheeseburg Eating World Championship rounded out the entertainment.
The Big E debuted CoffeE with JuliE, a Facebook Livestream series that highlighted the day’s events and took viewers behind the scenes of The Big E. The daily videos were a hit and The Big E’s Facebook page had more than 200,000 likes by the end of the Fair. On Instagram, there were more than 10,000 followers and on Twitter, more than 10,500. #BigEMoments continued to be widely used on social media and the new #BigE100 was also popular.
Eastern States Exposition Centennial: “A Century of Greatness” Exhibit featured ESE memorabilia from 1916 to now, telling our story through photographs, artifacts, hanging panels and video pieces. There were specific displays of the former racetrack with a restored winning race car from 1966, actual hockey equipment used in the Coliseum decades ago, and a five-foot tall decorated birthday cake from Pete’s Sweets.
The Wurst Haus and the Deep South Food Company, two new food spots on the grounds, debuted authentic food and drink. New foods like the Cowboy Nachos from Ultimate BBQ, the Mac & Cheese Burger from the Sam Adams Beer Garden, Moolicious’ Blueberry Pierogi Sundae and Anna’s Fried DoughCo became fairgoer favorites.
Thousands of exhibitors competed in youth, open, 4-H and FFA competitions during the course of the Fair. Winners of the eleventh annual Big E Northeast Gold Wine Competition and the eighth annual Big E Gold Medal Cheese Competition were on display and sold in the Wine and Cheese Barn. A new record of 1,677 lbs. was set in the Giant Pumpkin contest and the 4-H Beef Grand Champion Steer was purchased by ESE Chairman of the Board Donald R. Chase, at the Fair’s auction for $9/lb. The steer was raised from birth by Olivia Oatley, of Exeter, Rhode Island.
The Coliseum hosted the ESE Horse Show, now designated a Heritage event, and the ESE Equestrian Hall of Fame Induction ceremony which honored the late James LaHood, longtime ESE horse show manager.
Many thanks to our employees, volunteers, concessionaires, exhibitors and every person who helped The Big E achieve a huge, safe and fun Fair for our guests.
Visit TheBigE.com for details as plans begin to take shape for Big E 101, September 15-October 1, 2017.