The Big E: Fully focused on fried food

ABOVE: Bloomin’ onions are a Big E staple. Though a gigantic onion, battered and deep-fried, is certainly a dangerous treat anywhere else, at New England’s bastion of gluttony, this is just about the tamest fried treat you’ll find.

Yesterday was apparently National Greasy Foods Day. I shouldn’t be surprised that is a real thing, but I am. I can’t think of anything that more directly honors that sentiment than the annual pig-out fest at West Springfield’s The Big E.

The Big E is a lot of things. Agricultural fair. Shopping mecca. New England pride display. Playground. Concert venue.

To some, more than anything, The Big E is a place to eat. Trust me on this, I’ve been going to The Big E as far back as I can remember. I even worked at the exposition’s Lost People Center for several years in high school.

There has always been a panoply of food vendors at the fairgrounds, but the culinary landscape has really changed in recent years. I present, as evidence, some of the best (and worst) fried treats at The Big E in 2011:

Not pictured: Fried Oreos, fried butter.

Don’t worry, if dunking something in batter and sticking it in hot oil isn’t your thing (why are you reading this?), there are plenty of more rational options; everything from pierogi to pizza. One of my favorite options is the Maine baked potato, but be prepared to wait in line for it.

The fair is over for the year, but will return in 2012 from September 14 to 30.

Brett Mickelson