Here’s how to celebrate the Big E without the fair itself this year

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday would have been the first day of the Big E but it had to be canceled this year due to the pandemic.

The Eastern States Exposition still has plans to keep the Big E spirit alive this fall.

During normal years vendors would be spending these hours preparing for thousands to enjoy the great food, music, and other entertainment the fair has to offer, and although the fair won’t be held in its usual fashion, there are still ways for people to get a taste of New England’s Great State Fair.

The fair is holding several pop-up events on weekends where participants sign up in advance, wear masks, and social distance when in attendance.

The 17-day run of New England’s Great State Fair generates more than 85 percent of the Eastern States Exposition’s yearly revenue.

Gene Cassidy is President and CEO of the organization and he said they are doing everything they can to keep business moving forward. That is the goal now, to support the businesses located at the grounds by maintaining the spirit of the Big E.

“You know, trying to keep everybody together and keep the team together so we can produce a fair in 2021. Everything that we do is trying to just keep people working for a little bit longer and I am hoping that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Cassidy told 22News.

Big E food favorites will also be available at the Big E food-to-go drive-thru starting on September 22 through to September 27 with additional dates as follows:

  • September 29 through October 4
  • October 6 through October 11
  • October 13 through October 18

Tickets for the event are $5 per vehicle and include a time-slot reservation that must be purchased online in advance. Food purchases are not included with the entry fee.

The Big E Drive-Thru Time Slots

  • Tuesday to Thursday: 11am to 1pm; 1pm to 3pm; 3pm to 5pm; 5pm to 7pm
  • Fridays: 10am to noon; noon to 2pm; 2 to 4pm; 4 to 6pm; and 6 to 8pm
  • Saturdays and Sundays: 9am to 11am; 11am to 1pm; 1pm to 3pm; 3pm to 5pm and 5pm to 7pm.

The new process will help reduce traffic and create shorter wait times for guests. The maximum of 50 cars per hour within two-hour time slots are registered each day.

COVID-19 guidelines will be enforced for all guests, employees, and vendors. Each car will be able to place orders, pay, and pick up food while remaining in their vehicle the entire time. Both cash and credit cards are accepted.

Guests need to purchase a time slot in advance on the Big E’s website.

Several restaurants in the area will also have Big E inspired menus that residents can check out to get a feel for the fair:

  • The Still in Agawam is featuring a Big E inspired menu from Friday, September 11 to Sunday, September 27
  • Nathan Bills in Springfield will have a Big E inspired menu from September 17 to October 3
  • The Log Cabin in Easthampton will feature regional beers and ciders on tap, as well as Big E, inspired food starting September 10 Thursdays & Fridays at 4 p.m. with last seating at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 12 p.m. with last seating at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 12 p.m. with last seating at 6 p.m. You have to make a reservation on their website.
  • The Rumbleseat in Chicopee will have Big E inspired foods for two weeks starting September 17.

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