There will be a lot of high-flying excitement above western Massachusetts this weekend.
The Great New England Air and Space show takes off from Chicopee Saturday. This year, the base is opening more gates than ever before to ease some of the traffic for the hundreds of thousands of visitors they’re expecting.
The gates open at 8 a.m., and by 11 a.m., Westover said the traffic will spike, with the time it takes to get from the highway to the flight line getting “progressively longer by noon.” Heavy traffic is inevitable.
“Traffic does get a bit of a hassle, but it’s all worth it because the air show is really nice,” said Dominic Iannuzzi of Chicopee. “We like that they do it here in Chicopee. They put up cones, and they have shuttles so people can park far enough away so everyone is not in one particular location.”
Preparations are taking place on and off the base, with Chicopee police staffing 24 extra officers over the weekend.
Owner of Interstate Towing, Jeremy Procon, told 22News the volume of visitors will make for one of their busiest weekends of the year.
“Extremely busy,” said Procon. “We actually have all of our drivers staffed and all of our trucks full and serviced.”
Interstate Towing will have golf carts on base to help airshow visitors with free jump starts and lockouts, and trucks stationed along the MassPike, where cars might break down.
“Just to service everyone coming in and out of the air show,” said Shana Desrochers of Interstate Towing. “So we actually have trucks stationed all the way from Blandford to the Charleton area. It’s very busy. Definitely a lot of people a lot of stuff going on.”
The base estimates that once you get off the highway and through security, it’ll be about an hour till you’ll hit the flight line.
Gates open at 8 a.m. with displays starting at 9 a.m., and flying demonstrations taking off at 11 a.m.