WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — It’s the last day of the Big E on Sunday and thousands of people were out enjoying the fair food, crafts, games, shops and state buildings. Visitors also got a chance to watch concerts including the ‘I Love The 90’s’ Tour and Lonestar. But, if you were on your way to or around the fairgrounds you probably found yourself in a bit of traffic.
The President of the Eastern States Exposition, Gene Cassidy told 22News that they are hoping to reach a record high amount of visitors, “Day Seventeen, everybody’s happy, there’s a huge crowd, and people are happy to be here because the suns out and not the rain.”
After last weekend brought in lots of rain not too many people came out, and that led to less business for vendors. But, the crowds certainly came in for this final weekend and business was booming.
“Business has been great! We have been selling a lot of these guys, get them while they are hot!,” said Brad Everett of Red’s Red Apples about a lot of people buying their gourmet and candied apples.
He says while the fair was not as busy compared to previous years but they still saw a good crowd of people. This year Cassidy said there was an economic impact, as the fair is 14-percent behind from where they were last year. He says they may be 10 to 11-percent behind by the time the fair closes.
With the last day of The Big E being so nice there is one thing to look out for: traffic. 22News was on our way to The Big E but seemingly everyone else had the same idea, and it was causing terrible traffic jams through the area. Cars were backed up for miles in every direction.
Going into the final Sunday The Big E has seen a record breaking 1,256,763 people! And with this beautiful weather there are well over a hundred-thousand making their way to the fair on it’s final day.
Fairgoers got to experience all of the fun foods, arts and crafts, state buildings, rides, agricultural events, and music performances as per usual, but trying to get to all of it was a different story. Traffic had got so bad earlier in the afternoon that Agawam police sent a caution to commuters heading to the Big E.
The Agawam Police Department posted a statement saying that back ups are continuing in all directions and are the same or worse as they have been. They advise that if you are caught in the traffic to find the first parking lot and get in it, don’t try to get closer; WAZE is not going to help you and whichever way it sends you, you will be sitting in traffic.
Shonda Lito of Providence, Rhode Island told 22News that she parked over a mile away just so her group could walk to The Big E and not sit in any more traffic, “It’s a lot of traffic. We didn’t want to waste any more time. We were already in a bunch of traffic and wasted almost an hour looking for somewhere to park, so we didn’t wanna waste any more time.”
“We saw how tough traffic was so we were like we need to park somewhere further because I’d rather walk,” expressed Mark George of Rhode Island.
The traffic was so bad that some people told 22News that they had been sitting on roads leading into the fairgrounds for over four hours trying to get to the fair.
“There was traffic last year but nothing like this. This was a lot it, doesn’t compare. It should’ve taken us about an hour-forty-five and it took us a little over three hours,” expressed Brittany Clark and Emily Mulcahy of Rhode Island.
Frustrations over the traffic persisted into the evening for many, but for those going to the fair, they didn’t seem to mind as much. One fairgoer told 22News that sitting in the car was worth it because they greatly enjoy going to the fair.
And with the well over one million visitors coming to the fair over the past few weeks, it’s meant a substantial boost to business for many, even as a few rainy days threatened to dampen those sales.