Eastern States Exposition, home of The Big E, has presented the finest livestock, the most innovative commercial, industrial and artistic developments, and the highest caliber of varied entertainment to the people of the Northeastern United States for more than eight decades. More than one million people now attend the 17 day Big E, an annual autumn extravaganza of entertainment, exhibits and agriculture – the culmination of a visionary idea first expressed by Joshua L. Brooks at the beginning of the 20th century.
Working with twelve community leaders, Brooks spearheaded the purchase of 175 acres of former swampland in West Springfield. It took less than eight months to construct the Coliseum and cattle barns. The site was ready.
A group of determined New England businessmen went to Chicago and convinced the executive body of the National Dairy Show to hold their annual extravaganza in West Springfield instead of its traditional home, the Midwest. In 1916, this National Dairy Show was the first event held on the Exposition Grounds. It also marked the first time the show was held east of Chicago.