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100th Big E means new food creations and the return of crowd favorites

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- We're approaching September, and you know what that means: fair season!

And the biggest fair of all is having quite a celebration this year. The Big E, which is a joint state fair for all six New England states, is putting on its 100th event.

As usual, there will be tons of unusual foods and flavors, from funnel cake to fried mac and cheese, and of course the Craz-E Burger, a bacon cheeseburger between two halves of a grilled glazed doughnut.

But there are some new editions to the herd as well.

First up, the new restaurants.

Wurst Haus, by the Student Prince, will bring the best of Germany right to your doorstep. From fried Camembert to enormous Bavarian pretzels, they have it all. But save room for the "German Giant": an 18-inch bratwurst on a bun.

Meanwhile, The Deep South Company will bring southern comfort to the Northeast, from fried oyster Po Boys to special cocktails, like a blueberry mint julep or the Alabama rum punch.

Then, there's the new foods at concession stands.

In the savory department, meatlovers can enjoy offerings from Porky's Concessions like a maple waffle breakfast sandwich--two farm eggs, aged cheddar cheese and crisp maple bacon put inside a golden maple waffle--or Anna's Fried Dough's new specialty, the Navajo Taco--all the fixings of a taco stuffed in fried dough.

Then there's the sweets, where you'll have to head over to Moolicious to try out the brand new blueberry pierogi sundae, or Rondeau's Ice Cream and Veggie Patch's two new flavors to honor the centennial. There's also fried pumpkin pie bites.

So what's in between savory and sweet? Snack time with fries! You've got KB Foods' new chocolate covered fries with bacon sprinkles; F&W Caterers' funnel cake fries; or Tracey's Idaho Taquerie'as sweet potato dessert fires.

And don't forget to whet your palate! Or should we say wet?

You can visit the brand new Spencer Trappist Brewery Experience, put on by monks from St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. You'll get to learn all about the brewing process and enjoy a taste of the Feierabendbier, which means "after work beer."

Then there's the V-One Craft Cocktail Bar, offering up a new location with dessert cocktails like the Chocolate Highness, or last year's newbie the deep fried martini. And of course, try craft beers from all six New England states at the New England Craft Beer Pub, which also offers beer-amisu, a take on tiramisu.

Other highlights include Agawam's own E.B.'s deep fried Shepherd's pie; fresh and fried seafood from Hofbrau Joe's Clam Box; and fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy snacks at places like 4-H Apple Booth or the Nut Lady.

Last but not least is the Big E Northeast Gold Wine Competition and Big E Gold Medal Cheese Competition, where you can get samplings of both wines and cheeses! And this year, cider will be up for grabs as well.

Th Big E will take place September 16 through October 2 in West Springfield. Click here for more information.

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