Thursday September 13, 2012

WEST SPRINGFIELD -- If you have an odd yearning for winter and snow, your wait is just about over.

The Young Building on the grounds of Eastern States Exposition will be featuring snow squalls at five-minute intervals when then 95th edition of the Big E opens its gates Friday morning.

The new Winter Wonderland exhibit, sponsored by Uncommon USA, is a 3,700 square foot, snowy forest with enchanted holiday scenes. See the Vintage Glamour reminiscent of old Hollywood juxtaposed with Victorian Romance. Cross the bridge and stop to watch the "ice skaters" at Evergreen Pond. Fairgoers can have their picture taken in front of the snowy forest, and bring home the scent of the holidays with a Kringle Candle.

Winter Wonderland is among the highlights of the 17-day Big E, which runs through Sept. 30 and features top name entertainment, The Big E Super Circus, The Avenue of States, Storrowton Village Museum, animals, competitive exhibits, rides, shopping, crafts, a daily parade and a Mardi Gras parade, and foods from around the world.

Also among new attractions is an authentic French patisserie, La Petite France, from West Hartford, Conn., also in the Young Building, and, roaming the fairgounds daily, the Mechanical Man, Randy Burns, who started his mechanical man act 34 years ago. Burns’ Mechanical Man interacts with crowds and plays off their reactions.

Music has always been a big attraction at the Big E. This year’s lineup of acts at the Big E’s 6,500-seat outdoor Comcast Arena features:

n Alan Jackson (Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m.);

n Hot Chelle Rae (Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m.);

n Rodney Atkins (Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.);

n Billy Currington with special guest David Nail (Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.)

n The Big E Doo Wop Show with Jay Black, Jay Siegel & The Tokens, and Kenny Vance & The Planotones (Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m.).

Meanwhile, the smaller Court of Honor stage will host:

n The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley, Sept. 14-16, 3 and 8 p.m.

n Eddie Holman, Sept. 17-21, 3 and 8 p.m.

n Joey Molland, Sept. 22-26, 3 and 8 p.m.

n Shannon, Sept. 27-30, 3 and 8 p.m.

All concerts take place rain or shine.

Information on show times and schedules can be found on TheBigE.com, Facebook or Twitter (@TheBigEFair).

Tickets to all shows are available at TheBigE.com, Ticketmaster.com, or Charge-By-Phone (800-745-3000).

-- Edited by Jeffrey Borak, arts and entertainment editor