SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Boston Red Sox are coming to Springfield and thousands of people will make their way downtown for the annual Winter Weekend event.

Western Mass News dug deeper into how the city is preparing for what may be one of the busiest weekends of the year.

For the first time, the Boston Red Sox are making their way to western Massachusetts for the team's sixth annual Winter Weekend.

With numerous coaches, players, and alumni - including David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, and Xander Bogarts coming to MGM Springfield - the city are planning on thousands of fans being here to welcome them.

Officials are expecting nearly 10,000 people will be in attendance, creating a similar atmosphere to the Aerosmith concerts this past summer.

Springfield Police spokesperson Ryan Walsh told Western Mass News they will have even more officers on-duty than usual.

"With traffic, with the detours, we're gonna have extra officers with our metro unit along with patrol officers down there just to try to keep it as smooth as possible and add that extra visibility downtown," Walsh explained.

Starting on Thursday, lasting all the way until Sunday, the city is shutting down several streets.

Here's a look at what will be closed:

Main Street, between Court and Howard Streets, are closed.  That will make way for an interactive tent spanning across Main Street.

State Street will be closed between MGM Way to Willow Street.

While State Street at Dwight Street, and East Columbus Avenue, as well as Main Street at Union Street, will be blocked off by Springfield Police, local traffic and access to businesses will be allowed through.

"We're gonna have officers with all the intersections around there, there's going to be a lot of visibility, high visibility of police officers in that area," Walsh explained.

With streets remaining open to pedestrians, Walsh said he's expecting a great turnout.

"What we're hoping is that this brings in a lot of people, Red Sox fans from all over the New England area, that may not know about Springfield, that may have never been to MGM before and we want to provide them with a safe, fun weekend," Walsh said.

Western Mass News will have complete coverage of the Red Sox Winter Weekend.

You're encouraged to stop by our studios in The Plaza at MGM Springfield this Friday from 12 to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m. when we'll be giving out Western Mass News baseballs, along with a chance to win free Big Y groceries gift card.

Tickets can be purchased here at the MassMutual Center box office on Friday at 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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