A trip to the Big E, 2018 Edition

I can never win with the Big E parking lot.

I get there early, I get shuttled off to the farthest reaches of the parking lot.

Every other parking lot in every other Fair that I attend either ha a really good parking situation, or they offer shuttles. But for the Big E … it’s a game of getting there as early as humanely possible.

As early as … I should have arrived last night.

Anyway… I got to the Big E at around 9:00 a.m.  And sure enough, the parking attendants point me to the farthest parking spot ever.  I swear, it’s almost like they stuck me in Chicopee or something.  And the last place I want to be is in Chicopee.  It’s like Springfield with a stronger stench.

But as I exited my car, I heard something.

“Hey mister, you need a ride?”

I turned around.  A Big E volunteer, chauferring a golf cart.  And three other people are on the golf cart, and there’s room for one more.

I looked around to make sure that there wasn’ta senior citizen or someone who was otherwise physically challenged, they could have taken the seat and I would have walked.

No one around.  I climbed in.

Hey, it’s at least better than hailing an Uber.

After walking around the Big E’s Fairgrounds, and purchasing a couple of souvenirs, I decided it was time to visit the new England Center.

And the first thing I wanted to find was my third burlap stitching project.  See, my creative project from last year, where I threaded colored yarn into a burlap fabric, has claimed ribbons in the other fairs – GLF Quality snagged an Honorable Mention in Syracuse, while Fort Orange Dairy & Feeds took a second place silk in Altamont.  Aces.

So how did my psychedelic ode to the farmer’s exchange of New England do?

After searching through all the quilts and blankets and other textile treasures…

Oh look, there’s my artwork. So let it be said.  All three of my stitch projects earned silks. 

I can now begin a new stitching project or three, without having to go back to more burlap. Works for me.

But I entered two pictures in this year’s Fair – and the acceptance levels for photos are getting steeper and stricter every year.  This year, entrants were allowed two photos … and the photos had to be pre-screened before they would even be considered for judging.  There was a 75% acceptance rate, and thankfully my two entrants, Washington County 2:30 a.m. and The Mahari Stream both made the cut.

So let’s see…Oh, here’s The Mahari Stream.  And would you look at that …

Red ribbon for second place, second ribbon earned by this photo!

Nice!  The Mahari Stream has claimed a third place at Altamont and now a second place at the Big E!  Two pretty ribbons!

So where did they hang Washington County 2:30 a.m.?  I looked from wall to wall, from panel to panel… not here … not there …

And after I walked all around the New England Center, and followed the old adage that “What you’re looking for will be in the last place you look,” I finally found my Milky Way and covered bridge photo…

A second blue earned for Washington County 2:30 a.m.!!

Look at that!

This picture picked up a second blue ribbon!  Two blues for this shot!

But if you want to know how clueless I was when it came to searching for this image in the New England Center …It was right next to The Mahari Stream on the wall, and I didn’t even notice it at first. 

Okay, it’s official. 

I gotta get my eyes checked.

So after a celebratory Big E eclair for lunch, and a few more moments pacing around the New England Center, I headed home. 

Successful run at the Big E, and I’ve picked up my fifth blue at this fair, which feels wonderful.

But I’m not done yet.I still have both these pictures, plus one other, plus one burlap entrant, scheduled for delivery to the Durham Fair next week. 

Competition Season 2018 may be winding down…

But it still has a chance to wind down with a bang.