Connecticut Day at the 2011 Big E

Article and photo by Jacqueline Bennett

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman (right) and the "Seed Queen" shake hands on Connecticut Day at the Big E

Connecticut Day, held September 21 at the Big E, drew the state’s top officials Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. In the early afternoon Wyman was on hand at the Connecticut building for a ‘meet and greet’ with exhibitors including entrepreneur Kathie Pelliccio, the “Seed Queen” of Branford, who has started Super Seedz, an all natural gourmet pumpkin seed treat promoted as a healthy snack. Wyman even tasted a handful of seeds which come in a variety of flavors.

Among other exhibits inside the building were the popular Connecticut authors booth, a winery sample,  an interesting LEGO demonstration, food concessions and as always a strong presence by the Connecticut State Police with media spokesman Lt. Paul Vance in attendance. On a bandstand out front, the Governor’s Foot Guard Band performed and on display nearby were some vintage vehicles that won awards at the Woodstock Fair. The 5 p.m. Connecticut Day parade featured high school bands from across the state.

What seems yet to be established is a signature food attraction for the Connecticut building that fair-goers eagerly wait in long lines to enjoy, such as, Rhode Island’s clam chowder, baked potatoes from Maine and that out-of-this-world apple pie over in the Vermont building. How about ice cream made by the University of Connecticut in Storrs, or, those unique crispy cheeseburgers from Manchester-based Shady Glen?

Founded in 1916, the first Eastern States Exposition – Big E – took place in 1917. Held annually in West Springfield, Massachusetts, it features an Avenue of States – replicas of each New England original statehouse, as well as, horse shows, amusement park rides, musical acts, product vendors, the Storrowtown Village Museum and food galore. This year the Big E opened on September 16 and closes October 2 with a concert scheduled for Sunday night by marquee entertainer Reba McEntire.