Inflation leading to higher prices for Big E vendors, fairgoers

Tens of thousands of people have been enjoying The Big E fair in West Springfield and many of them are noticing something new from Big E vendors: higher prices.
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 3:43 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:41 PM EDT
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Tens of thousands of people have been enjoying The Big E fair in West Springfield and many of them are noticing something new from Big E vendors: higher prices.

You can find just about all your fair food favorites at The Big E and you can really put a dent in your wallet by shopping at all the different craft vendors. However, you may have noticed this year an even larger price tag most of those items.

“Very high, yeah absolutely,” said Blaze Bayley, who was visiting The Big E on Monday.

“Prices have gone up and I think that’s everywhere,” added Christopher Greene, who visited The Biu

Big E vendor Jeff Belkin, owner of The Chili Station located in the Massachusetts building, told Western Mass News that all of his supplies have gone up in costs.

“Foil used to be $5 a box. Now, it’s $20 something a box…Emu meat, which we get from a local farm, was $6 a pound. Now, it’s up to $14 a pound. Beef is around $3 a pound. It used to be about two-and-a-quarter,” Belkin explained.

Record attendance last year may have helped most vendors, but Belkin said not his business, since masks were still required inside state buildings.

“We didn’t have the people. They may have had them out there, but they didn’t have them in here,” Belkin added.

Because of the not-so-great turnout last year and the increase in his costs, he’s really had to increase his prices.

“We went up about 20 percent, which is a lot, but we had to do it. The price of everything has gone up,” Belkin explained.

Another vendor couple, The Banks, who make and sell homemade salsa, jams, and sauces at Black Sheep Mountain Gourmet, have taken a hit in their profits because of their supply costs.

“Our sample prices, as far as chips and crackers, have probably gone up about $4 a box,” said Cheryl Banks.

However, they are choosing not to go up in prices this year, afraid it would hurt their business.

Guests we caught up with noticed the increase in costs to eat and have fun at The Big E, but they said it’s just the price they are willing to pay to enjoy the fair.

“We want to enjoy every minute that we’re here. If it costs a little more, we’re all willing to do it because it’s just not something we get to do every day,” said Brianne DeMarco.

Although vendors had to up their prices, the Eastern States Exposition did not this year. Ticket prices are $15 dollars, the same as last year.