Local Historian Commemorates Big E Centennial with New Book
AGAWAM — Agawam resident David Cecchi first attended the Eastern States Exposition in September 1964. He doesn’t remember much of that first fair — he was only a few months old — but, like many locals, he’s attended faithfully every year since. With his brothers, Bobby and Michael, he’s exhibited vegetables from his family’s farm. He’s watched his sons march in the Exposition’s daily parade with the Agawam High School marching band. He even took part in the very first Agawam Day celebration at the fair.
Along the way, he’s amassed a collection of Exposition-related memorabilia. And, to commemorate the centennial of this favorite local institution, and his love of it, he wrote a book, The Big E: Eastern States Exposition, part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, which will be released early this month. To celebrate, Cecchi is holding a book signing on Monday, Sept. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Captain Charles Leonard House, located at 663 Main St., Agawam.
The book features nearly 200 images spanning the entire first century of the Exposition. The images were selected from the Exposition’s archives, which were graciously opened to Cecchi, as well the author’s own collection and selections from local residents. From the fair’s inception as host to the 1916 National Dairy Show through recent years, Cecchi’s book is a photographic tour of the Exposition. From the early expansion in the 1920s, the Mohawk Indian Village, images of the 1927 and 1936 floods, and program covers throughout the decades, the book is a visual feast of all things Big E. The accompanying text highlights the important role the Exposition has held in the revitalization and promotion of New England agriculture, and is filled with little-known, newly discovered, and interesting information.
Copies of The Big E: Eastern States Exposition will be available for purchase, as will copies of Cecchi’s previous books of local interest: Agawam and Feeding Hills, Agawam and Feeding Hills Revisited, and Riverside Park.
Select items from Cecchi’s Exposition collection will also be on display during the book signing, and many other items can be seen as part of the Agawam Historical Assoc. exhibit, “100 Years of the Eastern States Exposition,” open on Sunday, Sept. 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Agawam Historical & Fire House Museum, 35 Elm St., Agawam.
For more information, contact the author at (413) 786-3236 or [email protected]. Cecchi is a member of the board of directors of the Agawam Historical Assoc. He is also principal of Cecco | the design office of David Cecchi, and president and club historian of the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts.