Big E fair in Springfield, MA on September 23,...
The Eastern States Exposition (the “Big E”), Springfield, Massachusetts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We took time to have a family day last weekend, and dashed off to the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on the last weekend it was held. We had so much fun!

After conferring with my family, here are our 10 favorite things about going to a state fair for a September field trip, for this week’s Top 10 Tuesday:

1. Rides (of course)…

It has been a very long time since Mami and Papi have ridden on amusement park rides, but my husband, being a guy, is always up for an adventure. Unfortunately, being a petite 6’3″ and 250 pounds makes it a little challenging to pack him into the safety harnesses (believe me… the attendants tried). So The Mother had to pinch hit on some rides that were NOT on the top of my list (and some that were):

Drivers, start your engines! (c) Kim Bennett, 2012
  • The Fire Ball – Two minutes of harrowing upside-down-ness. My son loved it. My hair clip came undone and my left knee was trembling uncontrollably when I was done.
  • Crazy Mouse– My husband proclaimed it a “punk” roller coaster, until he saw me on it and saw that the cars swivel as they go along the track. Very fun! Went on that one several times, as did Dear Old Dad. The best was sitting sandwiched between my 8-yr-old and a teeny tiny girl who narrated the entire way, having ridden the ride several times.
    WAY up high… (c) Kim Bennett, 2012


  • Bumper Cars – Who doesn’t love bumper cars? I was declared a backseat driver. 😉
  • Super Swings – SOOOO high and fast! I thought my son’s shoe would fly off and end up in the llama exhibit. My husband was in mortal terror.
  • Haunted House – My son can’t tell us what the ride was like, as he had his eyes tightly closed the entire time.
  • Ferris Wheel – It’s always fun to see the whole fair from way up high…

2. Fairground Food!

Nothing was low fat, and everything tastes better when you are eating outside on a crisp fall day. We feasted on corn dogs, fried dough, sausages, pizza and the world’s best fries.

3. Farm Animals

Being an agricultural event, we saw plenty of animals and other aggie things. Little Guy was particularly taken with the llamas and alpacas, and grilled us with questions for the next 2 days about their taxonomy and geographic distribution, as well as their use by mankind.

Mami and Papi were impressed by the sheer mass of the Clydesdales – 2300 lbs of muscle and strength. Little Guy: “That’s not a real horse, is it?”

Is this not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2012

4. Games and Prizes

My husband resisted the temptation to spend lots of money at the basketball hoop booth, but Little Guy had fun at the dart booth, and won a teddy bear, which he named Tiny, by popping three balloons with just two darts.

Little Guy and Tiny, his new friend. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2012

5. Shopping

Mami bought a hooded jacket from Mexico, Papi bought a silver ring, and Middle Son bought stone bead necklaces and a bottle of Ghost Chili Hot Sauce (the latter for Eldest Son, who had a soccer game and didn’t attend with us).

6. Music

Being a family of musicians, we always stop to see live performers. This jazz band was great – my husband was fixed on the drummer, and Little Guy studied the trombonist for some pointers.

Nothing like some live music to make you smile. The sousaphone player played with one hand in his pocket! (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2012.

Aside from the obvious things that have to do with the fair, there are some less tangible (but probably more important) joys about going to a state fair in September:

7. It’s Fall.

Need we say more? (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2011

8. Traveling is fun.

Massachusetts is only about an hour from where we live in Connecticut. But it’s fun to go places with new names, to add to the map of places we’ve been.

9. Family time is the best time.

No phones (no service… can’t hear them, anyway!)… no computers… no cars… just us. That’s what I’m talking about.

Spending time as a family is the best part of a holiday. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2012

10. Knowing that there’s another state fair next year!

I want to come back next year, and take two days next time – one for the rides and carnival events, one for the ag exhibits, animal shows and Halls of the States. I’ll keep you posted!