The Big E Survey | 88% Said This is the Reason They Are Attending New England's State Fair

September 10, 2019

The Big E in Springfield, Massachusetts is right around the corner. New England’s Great State Fair is set to kick off on September 13 and run through September 29 of this year. The Fair will feature car shows, parades, concerts, and a circus spectacular. The Fair is also home to their famous Big E Cream Puffs and popular Big Eclairs. 

The big hype surrounding The Big E had our national market research company asking some questions. 


  • What motivates residents to attend? 

  • What prevents residents from attending? 

  • What are some of the favorite foods and performances attendees are most looking forward to? 

  • How much money do fairgoers plan on spending at The Big E?

A recent survey conducted by Drive Research answered these questions. We recently conducted a survey with 340 residents of Western Massachusetts. What did we find out? Keep reading.

The results of The Big E Survey were also featured on MassLive, a publication based in Springfield, Massachusetts covering local and national news – including entertainment, like The Big E.  

For more details about the study, please contact Drive Research


New England’s Great State Fair is set to kick off soon! What do you think is the number one reason Massachusetts residents are looking forward to The Big E? 

Project Background 
Drive Research just completed their 2019 The Big E survey. The survey gathered 340 responses from those who live in Western Massachusetts. Survey invites were sent to members of our in-house survey panel, which is a cross-section of those who live in or near Springfield, Massachusetts. Responses also included residents who responded to Facebook paid advertising postings. 

The Big E survey was conducted from August 29th to September 3rd of this year. Drive Research asked respondents 10 questions which took an average of five minutes to complete.

Questions in The Big E survey included, but not limited to: 


  • Are you aware of The Big E being help in Springfield, MA from September 13 to 19, 2019? 

  • What word or phrase comes to mind when you think of The Big E in Massachusetts? 

  • Do you plan on attending The Big E this year? If no, why not?

  • How much money do you plan to spend at The Big E this year?

  • What are you looking forward to at The Big E this year?

  • What food or beverage are you looking forward to the most at The Big E this year? 

  • Which performance are you most looking forward to this year? 


Awareness and Attendance of The Big E
Whether residents plan to be in attendance this year or not, awareness of The Big E is extremely high. In fact, 99% of respondents reported being aware of The Big E in Springfield, M.A.

The expected attendance for The Big E is also high. A majority of residents surveyed said they would be attending (69%). Few said they were unsure (26%) and even fewer were not planning on going (5%).


Reasons for Not Attending The Big E 
Most commonly, local residents stated The Big E was too expensive to enjoy the full experience. Just over 40% of those who won’t be attending stated cost was the top barrier that would prevent them from going to The Big E in 2019.

What other barriers also deter people from attending? The lack of new or different attractions (33%), and the pain of crowds and parking (27%).


Reasons for Attending The Big E

Overwhelmingly, over 4 in 5 (88%) plan to attend The Big E this year to enjoy the food and beverages.


Other common responses motivating visits to The Big E included:



  • Shopping and outdoor exhibits (71%)

  • Avenue of States and ESE Museum (63%)

  • Concerts or performances (50%)

  • Daily and Mardi Gras parades (38%)

  • Agriculture such as the butter sculpture, livestock, and the Christmas tree exhibit (38%)

  • Storrowton Village (25%) 

One Word or Phrase to Describe The Big E
When respondents think of The Big E, the top words that came to mind were food, fun, and great. Other popular answers included tradition and entertainment. A personal favorite was a respondent answering, “Great hooky day from work!” Your secret is safe with us…and whoever is reading this blog post. 

Here is a word cloud of popular responses from residents of Western Massachusetts. 

How Much Money Will Respondents Spend?
Respondents were asked how much money they plan to spend at The Big E (outside of parking and admission). Most commonly, 3 in 5 residents (61%) stated they would spend between $50 and $149, and nearly 1 in 5 (19%) stated they would spend $150 or more. 


Here is the full breakdown of how much money respondents said they planned on spending:

  • Less than $25 (2%)

  • $25-$49 (15%)

  • $50-$74 (20%)

  • $75-$99 (19%)

  • $100-$149 (22%)

  • $150 or more (19%)

  • Unsure (3%)

Favorite Foods at The Big E 
The survey also covered what foods and beverages residents were most looking forward to at The Big E. The top choice? Baked potatoes (16%)! Not too far behind was The Big E cream puffs and eclairs take second place (14%).


In third were the fair-goers who said they look forward to all of the food The Big E has to offer (9%). Fried dough, mini donuts, clam fritters, and cheese curds were also crowd favorites.


Most Anticipated Performances at The Big E 
When respondents were asked what performance they are most looking forward to, The Blue Oyster Cult and Collective Soul were at the top of the list. Panheads are ready to rock at The Big E, with Skillet being another popular answer. Respondents were also excited to see Carly Rae Jepson, The Voice’s Brynn Cartelli, and the Circus Spectacular. 

Nearly 20% were unsure about which of the performances they will attend.


Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a national full-service market research firm founded in 2016. Drive Research works within a variety of industries and organizations in New England to address key business objectives by designing and executing qualitative and quantitative research projects. 


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