The Big, Fat E

I’m really not a fan of amusement parks, places that encourage families to spend money recklessly or port-o-potties. Or overpriced, greasy foods. Or germs.

Because of this, I’ve avoided, until this week, bringing my kids to the Big E The only son who’s ever been went because a friend’s family took him. And he came home with a gigantic stuffed blue fish named Blern.

But the combination of a mid-week day off from school and a group of friends committed to going somehow convinced me to lace up a pair of sneakers (never worn unless exercising) and head north.

After watching Jill, our navigation system lady, change our arrival time minute by minute because of a ridiculous traffic jam, we paid $5 to park behind a sketchy building. We then walked a half-mile and waited 20 minutes to pay to get into the fair.

I realize at this point you’re expecting this to be a terribly negative review of the Big E. But really, it wasn’t so bad.

Yes, we spent way too much money. We ate fried everything (clam fritters, corn dogs, Oreos.) And I tried maple-bacon ice cream (tastes exactly like you’d think maple-bacon ice cream would taste) and chocolate covered bacon (ditto.)

But the “fair” parts of the fair were pretty good. We watched chicks as they hatched, piglets playing, alpacas being alpacas. The state buildings -- which I remembered as being heavy on the pamphlets and light on the fun the last time I went, in 1985 -- were quite impressive.

Yes, I can do without the expensive rides and games (although the kids could not.) And the traffic and waiting could certainly be fixed (right, Southwick?) The guy selling jewelry cleaner couldn’t understand my logic: If I own jewelry cleaner now, and haven’t used it in a year, why would I suddenly start using his jewelry cleaner?

So would we go back? Maybe not next year, but one day, for sure. My rating of this fair? Better than fair.

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