WEST SPRINGFIELD -- The Big E -- America's 9th largest fair in a single story -- has opened its gates today on its 175-acre Eastern States Exposition site on Memorial Avenue.
The fair runs through Sept. 25. In addition to its popular traditions -- the Grand Midway, Avenue of the States, daily Mardi Gras parade, Storrowtown Village Museum, livestock exhibits and contests and the New England Center, this year's event features a number of special events.
The Big E's 6,500-plus person, outdoor concert venue hosts some big names for 2013, including:
- Don Felder who brings us "An Evening at the Hotel California," Saturday evening at 7:30;
- Tommy James & The Shondells, Sunday at 7:30 p.m. (free);
- Pop star Austin Mahone is in the house on Sept. 28 (free
- The Beach Boys, Sept. 29 (free).
Country fans can enjoy Hunter Hayes Sept. 20 ($29-$39, on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com), and Kix Brooks, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. (free).
Jonglieren is German for juggling, and you'll never believe what one man can do when Hilby The Skinny German Juggle Boy performs daily at 11a.m., 1 and 6:30 p.m. on the Court of Honor stage, sponsored by xfinity.
Hilby is from Berlin, but travels the world with his crazy vaudeville act, juggling such absurd items as an electric hedge trimmer, a bowling ball, and a flaming Beanie Baby. Hilby still performs worldwide, but you can catch him at The Big E starting today.
‘America's fastest swine'
Watching Swifty Swine Racing Pigs run every day outside the Mallary Rotunda is seriously fun. The pigs compete, not for love, or money, or to avoid -- horrors! -- being eaten. They compete for the Oreo cookie they know is waiting for them on a silver platter at the finish line.