The Big E celebrates the state of Maine

Thousands of people from across the country are enjoying what New England has to offer at The Big E
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 12:47 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Thousands of people from across the country are enjoying what New England has to offer at The Big E and this past Saturday, the fair celebrated the farthest state in the region: Maine.

Tens of thousands were treated to a Maine event - literally. For most of Saturday, Big E fairgoers visited the Maine building on Avenue of the States, which gave the Maine Office of Tourism’s Director Steve Lyons a chance to inform the public about what Maine has to offer.

“We have a lot of great agricultural products, a lot of great tourism products, and a lot of other products throughout the state. Food products, like lobster…those kinds of things. It’s an opportunity for us to really put those in front of people, have a good time while we’re here, and share that with the world,” Lyons explained.

Getting information about the state put smiles on people’s faces. They also were treated to foods the state is known for, like smoked salmon and maple syrup. Aside from that, state building visitors had the opportunity to glance at and purchase Maine-made items.

“There’s an organization in the state called Maine Made and there are a lot of members of that organization, hundreds of members in that organization, and they make a lot of the handmade products. You’ll see some wooden spoons, you’ll see fabric goods, you’ll see other hard goods and things,” Lyons added.

As many fairgoers learn about the state itself, it is neither Maine Day, nor the Maine building, without it’s staple: the Maine baked potato.

“A lot of people that come to the line say ‘This is my first stop. I always have to get my Maine baked potato’…The great part of it is meeting everybody that goes through, all the great stories they have, how excited they are to get their Maine baked potato,” said Dan D’Angelo, manager of Maine potatoes, located in the northeastern part of the state.

Western Mass News found dozens, if not hundreds, of people lined up inside and outside the building to have a taste of a caribou, Maine baked potato, with the options to add butter, bacon bits, cheese, sour cream, or chives on top. D’Angelo told us this has been a big hit at The Big E since the 1990s.

“We have six ovens going back there. They get pulled every 15 minutes and they run continuously all day long…[The Caribou Farms] grow them specifically for the fair. They overwater them and they get them to the larger size. This year, hopefully, we’ll sell between 65,000 to 75,000 potatoes,” D’Angelo added.

With 14 days remaining at The Big E, Lyons encourages people to stop by the Maine building.

“Lot of great opportunities in Maine. Whether it’s hunting or fishing or snowmobiling or ATVing or going to the beach, we have it all,” Lyons noted.