| By Angela Costanzi |
WEST SPRINGFIELD "Each year the Big E tries to bring something new and interesting to fair goers," Catherine Pappas, director of marketing at the Eastern States Exposition said.
This year the new exhibits are both educational and extraordinary. The events vary from a Live Shark Exhibit to a display of garden photography, but each and every new event promises to leave a lasting impression.
The Live Shark Experience is an up-close exhibit sure to wonder any age fairgoer.
"The stage is the tank," Pappas said.
The audience will experience divers entering a 7,000 gallon salt water tank filled with sharks. The diver will interact with the sharks right before the audience's eyes.
The Great White Encounter, a near-by exhibit allows fairgoers to experience what it would be like to be encircled by live sharks. Also the exhibit has a display of a Great White jaw which anyone is allowed to step inside.
The Live Shark Experience along with The Great White Encounter is located at the north end of the Avenue of States. Both are free to all guests. The Live Shark Experience show times are daily at noon, 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., with an additional 10:30 a.m. showing on the weekends.
Another new attraction to the Big E is the Wild Kingdom. This wilderness exhibit allows fairgoers to experience the sights of a tropical rainforest, the African savannah and the Polar Regions without ever having to leave the fair grounds.
"[You can] tour different regions of the world and see animatronics," Pappas said.
The exhibit also includes hands-on activities, photos and a theater showing exciting moments from the all-new "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" on Animal Planet.
This wildlife experience is located near the Giant Slide and is free of admission.
"Headline History: The Top 40 News Stories of Our Time" is a historical and original exhibit to enter the Big E. The exhibit features 40 framed banner headlines from American newspapers such as The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Herald Tribune and a few others.
These stories overview 95 years of American history in a fun and unique way.
Some of the headlines are even enhanced with audio tracks narrating history-making events.
The Headline History is open daily in the New England Center.
The "Lost Gardens of New England" is a photography exhibit unlike any other that has appeared at the Big E. The exhibit includes 28 framed images and nine text panels with waterscape background. The pictures illustrate the major themes of New England gardens or the Colonial and New Republic periods. Some of the pictures go as far back as mid-1800's gardens.
This is a walk through exhibit that is open daily in the New England Center.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a returning exhibit to the Eastern States fair grounds.
Pappas said the police have been to the Big E before, but this is their first time back in about 10 years.
The troop of 32 riders and horses is sure to marvel fairgoers with their variety of intricate figures and cavalry drills all choreographed to music. This traditional ceremony is entertaining for both the participants and the audience.
The police perform in the coliseum during the 1 p.m. and 6 p.m sessions of the Draft Horse Show on Sept. 28 and 29. They also follow the 1 p.m. Six-Horse Hitch Showdown on Sept. 30. If you miss these showings the police will have additional performances during the Daily Parade all three days.
The Eastern States Exposition adds variety and originality every year to its biggest fair.
"People look for something new and different every year and we [The Big E] try to give it to them," Pappas said.