What's new for 2012 - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

2012 Big E

What's new for 2012

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Each year the Eastern State Exposition is a rich blend of old traditions and new exciting offerings. It's no different for 2012 with new faces, fresh entertainment, and exotic tastes set to thrill the more than one million visitors expected to pass through the Big E's gates.

New president

The biggest change for the 2012 Big E is one that most visitors to the fair won't even notice. It's the introduction of Eugene J. Cassidy as the Chief Executive Officer. Cassidy took over on June 27, though he has been with the Eastern States Exposition since 1993. Cassidy takes over from Wayne McCary, who retired this summer after spending 21 years in charge of the fair.

Cassidy, a West Springfield native, says his goals are to both preserve and advance the programs, facilities and mission of Eastern States Exposition. He's also looking to expand on the number of events and shows that the fairground host every year.

Entertainment for all ages

The 2012 Big E features a wide mix of musicians and entertainers.

Headlining on the Comcast Arena Stage are country singer Billy Currington on September 28th, ventriloquist comedian Jeff Dunham on September 29th, and country legend Alan Jackson on September 30th. A limited number of tickets are available for each of these shows. They can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com.

There's also plenty of free entertainment on offer. For younger audiences, Hot Chelle Rae performs on Friday, September 21st. The U.S. Freestyle Motorcross National Championship Series tears up the Comcast Arena Stage on from Friday September 14th through Sunday September 16th. Country singer Rodney Atkins performers on September 23rd. Doo wop returns to the Big E on Saturday September 22nd, with Jay Siegal and The Tokens, Kenray Vance, and Jay Black taking to the stage.

The Stars of the Peking Acrobats are set to thrill audiences on the Court of Honor Stage daily at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Back by popular demand, Sea Lion Splash returns to their home at the north end of the Avenue of States, right next to the CBS 3 Springfield booth, with shows daily at 12:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., plus additional 10:30 a.m. shows on Saturdays and Sundays.

A variety of classic acts hit the hit the Court of Honor Stage at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. daily. Righteous Brother Bill Medley sings from September 14th through the 16th. Eddie Holman, famous for the song "Lonely Girl", performs from September 17th through the 21st. Former member of Badfinger, Joey Molland, performs September 22nd through the 26th. Finally Shannon wraps up the fair with hits like "Let the Music Play" from September 27th through the 30th.

Fair food

From fried foods to a celebration of the original "fast food", this year's Big E is filled with a smorgasbord of places to pig out.

In 2012, the sandwich turns 250 and the Big E's going all-out with more than 250 varieties of sandwiches on offer. So whether you've got a hankering for a classic grilled cheese or you want to be adventurous and try out something exotic like alligator, you'll find something sure to fit the bill.

Of course you can't have a great sandwich without having the perfect loaf of bread. So this year the Big E will be hosting a "Sensational Sandwich Bread" contest on September 20th at 11:00 a.m. in the New England Center.

If sandwiches aren't your thing, you'll find plenty of fried foods to satisfy your appetite. Get a full meal in with treats like fried lasagna or fried PB&J. Or try something refreshing and sweet like fried Kool-Aid, fried jelly beans, or fried whoopie pies. Want to wash all that fried goodness down with something? Why not try out a frozen hot chocolate.

Eating your way around the Big E can cost a bit of money, so new for 2012 fair organizers have introduced a "Food Funds" discount. Through September 12th you can purchase $10 of food tickets for just $8, for a savings of 20%. These vouchers are good at official Big E concession including the Storrowton Tavern and the Midway. Just drop by the Big E Box Office or head over to www.thebige.com for all the info.

CBS 3 coverage

CBS 3 is the only official TV station of the Big E. So don't forget you can join CBS 3's Cherise Leclerc from the Big E every weekday at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. for a complete rundown of what's happening that night and exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at the fair's biggest attractions. Plus Nick Morganelli will be out and about checking out exciting things all around the fairgrounds.

If you're going to the Big E, make sure you drop by at the north end of the Avenue of States and say hi, and don't forget pick up our reusable grocery bags to tote everything you'll be picking up at the fair!

Copyright 2012 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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