Eastern States Exposition breaks attendance record

By | October 3, 2012

A record number of visitors attended The Big E, in West Springfield, Mass., breaking the fair’s all-time high attendance figure, with a final tally of 1,365,896. The previous record, set in 2009 of 1,260,487, was actually surpassed by 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. The Fair ended its 17-day run Sunday, Sept. 30.

Eugene J. Cassidy, president and chief executive officer of the Exposition, said, “This was the biggest Fair in our history and its success is attributable to a wonderful staff of volunteers, employees and a supportive community.”

Six single-day attendance records were noted: Opening day, 68,533, the first Monday, 79,398, the second Friday with 86,260, the second Saturday, 164,281, the Second Tuesday, 79,678 and the second Thursday, 80,422.

Beautiful, sunny, cloud-free skies prevailed throughout most of the 2012 Big E, the first for Cassidy as president and chief executive officer. Weather conditions included rain and high winds on the first Tuesday and rain on the third Friday. Other inclement weather occurred overnight on the second Saturday. Cooler, fall-like temperatures and two cloudy days closed the Fair.

Fun Facts — The 2012 Big E continued the tradition of offering a variety of delicious foods. 147 vendors provided tasty treats to suit every fairgoer’s taste, from sit-down dinners at Storrowton Tavern and the Italian Pavilion, to fun Fair favorites. While strolling through the grounds, visitors enjoyed 10,000 hamburgers and 2,500 hot dogs and 1,000 new waffle burgers from the White Hut as well as 4,800 gallons of Rondeau’s Dairy Bar ice cream.

Visitors enjoyed culinary delights in the different State buildings. In the Massachusetts Building, 3,744 Finnish pancakes were enjoyed and 8,234 lobster rolls devoured. In the Rhode Island Building, 6 tons of Kenyon’s Clam Mix created countless fritters, and in the Vermont Building guests enjoyed 50,000 slices of hot Vermont apple pie topped with 400 pounds of cheddar cheese or 1,000 gallons of ice cream in addition to 20,000 servings of apple crisp, 2,500 gallons of apple cider and 67,000 apple cider donuts.

At the close of the Fair, The Big E had 121,354 fans on Facebook.