Vendors, fair officials ready for The Big E to get underway
WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Months of anticipation come to an end Friday when The Big E gates open for fairgoers for the first time this season.
“Everybody is really excited today. There is so much going on,” said Gene Cassidy, president and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition.
At 9 a.m. Friday, the gates are open for everyone coming to the largest fair in the east coast. Cassidy told us they’re expecting 75,000 people on day one and “lots and lots” in the first weekend.
“Oh you’re shocked…hopefully it’s even more,” Cassidy added.
He had advice for those navigating the crowds.
“I always tell people, go to the world wide web, go to google.com, and plan you’re day because if you don’t and you’re not a seasoned fairgoer, you will be overwhelmed,” Cassidy explained.
Preparation is now in its ‘crunch-time’ phase. On Thursday, Western Mass News saw employees and vendors putting on their final touches.
“Believe it or not, there are a lot of folks who are just arriving today and they’ll be working very diligently to the wee hours of the morning,” Cassidy noted.
It’s a big 24 hours that only builds up more anticipation for opening day.
“It’s actually a fun day to be here to see how quickly things are built,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy left us with a challenge for New England residents: a rivalry they have with Minnesota. The Land of 1,000 Lakes currently boasts the highest participation at their state fair. He told Western Mass News that their state fair president, John Simpson, came to West Springfield to help design the original Big E.
“We stole Mr. Simpson from Minnesota and we’ve been trying to catch Minnesota in attendance for the past 107 years. We’ve beaten them once,” Cassidy added.
Cassidy wants to make 2023 the year we do it again.
“This is your fair and, if you come, we’ll beat Mr. Simpson’s state fair,” Cassidy explained.
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