Rainy weather putting damper on Big E attendance

It’s been two full weeks into The Big E with only two days of record-high attendance numbers.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 3:18 PM EDT
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It’s been two full weeks into The Big E with only two days of record-high attendance numbers.

“We’ve actually done well the past three years. As of this part Thursday, we were up 36 percent this year from parking revenue. Of course, this weekend really hurt,” said Mark Sarazin of Agawam.

A rainy set of days that set back this year’s Big E in overall attendance. In response, Sarazin’s profits from parking for the event in his Agawam yard have declined.

“I’ve heard that the numbers are a little bit down in there and, obviously, this weekend’s weather did not help at all. This is the middle weekend, this is supposed to be the one where we get the most people, the most flow, the most cars, and it just obviously wasn’t,” Sarazin explained.

The middle weekend is notoriously the busiest. The second Saturday of the event in 2022 saw over 175,000 attendees. In comparison, only 69,000 visitors on the same day this year. Still, the Cole family wasn’t letting any bad weather Monday rain on their parade.

“I don’t want all my clothes and shoes to get wet, but gotta suck it up,” said Cassidy Cole.

The trio told Western Mass News that they park offsite every year to save a buck or two where they can.

“We choose to park here because it’s a little bit cheaper, easier to get out. We like that there’s waters and sodas along the way that are a lot cheaper than inside, so when you’ve spent all of your money and you have a dollar left, you still have a drink so all those reasons,” Ashley Cole said.

It’s a carefully planned event for Sarazin as well.

“I can fit 83 cars and trucks, pretty much any size, so we’ve really got down to a science, so that we can optimize every piece of grass that I have,” Sarazin said.

He told Western Mass News that, although it wasn’t the only selling feature when he bought his home in 2020, the additional annual income three weeks a year is a bonus. They also have a community built around the tradition.

“It’s a very social thing, we get a lot of repeat business, people coming back saying ‘I’ve parked here for the past five years,’ so it’s kind of nice,” Sarazin added.

“This is just where we’ve parked since we’ve been coming here,” Cassidy Cole explained.

Although numbers are trending lower than average, not all hope is lost.

“The final weekend is gonna be really nice…the weather looks good and we’ll hope for the best,” Sarazin said.