Nothing says Massachusetts agriculture, community and history like the Big E. The annual state fair in West Springfield is now in full swing and is scheduled to run until September 29th. The Big E is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard, including exhibits from all six New England states.
The Big E was originally created to promote agriculture and educate young people with the techniques and knowledge needed in agricultural vocations. This holds true today. Events like the 4-H Dairy General Orientation, Northeast Fall Holstein Junior Showmanship, youth sheepdog demonstrations, youth working steer orientation and many others offer opportunity for youth to showcase and expand their skill sets and knowledge surrounding the agricultural world.
The Big E isn’t all about education and vocation, there’s a lot of fun to be had too. Open to all ages, there are several categories within the livestock competition that are broken down between dairy cattle, beef cattle, and camelids such as llamas and alpacas. If you do not own any livestock, there are cookie and cake decorating contests. No cows to milk? You can still churn your own butter! Additionally, native produce contests, the giant pumpkin and squash contests and the decorated pumpkin contests are great for parents and kids.
Education is a big part of the Big E no matter your age. The Mallory Complex is dedicated to everything one could ever question about agriculture and livestock. The fairgrounds also offer historical information about the six New England states. Make sure to check out the Massachusetts Building, which features local agriculture, crafts, treats and performing groups native to the Commonwealth. There are many different demonstrations and self-guided excursions to attend.
There are more than 30 Massachusetts vendors at the Big E this year and some beautiful craftsmanship is being showcased, including wooden crafts, handmade jewelry, glassblowing, quilt-making, wool dyeing and rug hooking.
The Big E always has a lot to offer whether you have agricultural roots or just like to enjoy cider donuts on the weekends. This Commonwealth classic is a great opportunity for family bonding, food tasting and interaction with agriculture – so get a moooove on down to the fairgrounds!
The Turtles are Coming posted on Aug 29
With a migration pattern that stretches thousands of miles, it is no surprise that Massachusetts is home to four types of turtles during the summer, all of them protected by local and international law. And while you probably know that sea turtles often frequent the Massachusetts beaches, can you identify them?
2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: August posted on Aug 25
Augusts’ Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Cara Peterson, who photographed a high tunnel greenhouse at Flats Mentor Farm in Lancaster.
Not From Around Here: Green Crabs posted on Aug 22
As part of its work to assess salt marsh health, staff from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have frequently observed abundant green crabs, often burrowing in the banks of marsh creeks. This summer, CZM is examining the potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.