WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Eastern States Exposition is hosting “A Taste of The Big E” this weekend as questions still surround the main event scheduled to open 12 weeks from Friday.
This preview of the fair’s food favorites will use a drive-through format and will require extra precautions due to COVID-19.
Starting at ten tomorrow, people can line up in their cars, order their food, and drive through a portion of the Big E Fairgrounds to get their treats.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, West Springfield's city leaders plan to discuss the fair itself on Monday. Until then, the vendors are wondering if this drive-thru preview will end up being the main event.
"We had to develop a plan based on the guidelines, we have to follow you know submit everything to the Big E," said Tots-A-Lot worker Heidi Hiner.
Guidelines, protocols, and social distancing plans feel out of place at the Big E, where thousands of people walk the fair every year.
For this weekend’s "A Taste of The Big E" drive-thru event....everyone’s favorite finger foods will be a lot less shareable-due to COVID-19.
"Utensils and salt and pepper, in an individually packaged container, or a little packet," she said. "Then we’re going to wrap everything with foil."
The vendors had to submit their serving plans to the Eastern States Exposition, who then relayed them to West Springfield Health Department. The director of the agency explained to Western Mass News what people can expect when they pull through the fairgrounds.
"People are supposed to be staying in their vehicles. They're supposed to be runners going between the booths and the cars, go through that way, a lot of hands sanitizing of the payment methods," said West Springfield Health Department's Director Jeanne Galloway.
Galloway told Western Mass News city officials are still discussing whether or not the fair will even happen in September.
"The fair itself is nothing like what’s going on this weekend," Galloway said.
The vendors we spoke with, said they weren’t told to submit a serving plan for the Big e Fair just yet.
"Right now they’re just looking for a drive-through plan for this event," said the owner of Piche's Concessions, Mark Piche.
Preparing for one weekend, versus a summer of regional fairs...now canceled. Vendors said if the Big E is called off, it will land a devastating blow to the fair industry.
"If this fair decides, and they don’t run, and then I've got a big problem," Piche explained.
Money spent, supplies ordered and plans made...All things the virus doesn’t care about.
"I spent $50,000 on this trailer last year just to make it look better," he said. "I wish I would’ve saved that money"
There is no entry fee for this weekend’s drive-thru event. The entry is through gate nine and the exit is gate 2.