WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 106 years and counting, that’s how long The Big E has had people from all over New England flocking to the West Springfield Fairgrounds. Gates opened at 8:00 Friday morning, with people steadily coming in to enjoy the fair.

Of course at the Big E, you have plenty of food options, there’s live entertainment, animals… and you might just find some romance too.

“We just come for random food, see what’s new this year and hang out for the day,” said Jason and Erica Morin of Springfield. “We come here every year for our anniversary.”

Claire and Ed Peck of Uncaseville, Connecticut told 22News, “We just come together, it’s like a date!”

“Whatever the motivation for visiting, be it the food, the attractions, the atmosphere… fairgoers say a trip to The Big E has become tradition.

“We just love it. We’ve been coming since we were little kids, really. And we’re both getting up in age but as long as we’re still able to walk, we’re going to keep coming. We enjoy it. We really enjoy the food, everything else about it. You just have to come to the Big E! It was an hour and fifteen minute ride but well worth it,” said Claire and Ed.

From now through October 2nd, those big memories can be made here at the Big E. In addition, the key to avoiding delays when heading to The Big E is to know where to park.

Main Parking

If you plan to park on the Big E fairgrounds, all main parking will be found at Gate 9, which is the first gate on Memorial Avenue if coming from the east (from Springfield, Route 5, I-91, etc.) and the last gate if coming from the west (Agawam).

Cash Only!

Be advised that it is cash-only parking, and there are no ATMs near the gate, so you will have to have $10 on-hand in order to park.

Handicapped Parking

The Big E also provides handicapped-accessible parking spaces on a first-come first-served basis.

Off-site Parking

There are several private parking lots along Memorial Avenue, Baldwin Street, and other surrounding streets that are within walkable distance of the fairgrounds. The parking fees at these lots are set by the property owners, and tend to vary based on distance from the fair. The price may also vary based on peak and non-peak times.

Public Transportation

There are also options to take public transportation. The Eastern States Exposition has partnered with Peter Pan Bus Lines to offer shuttles heading to the Big E. The shuttles will depart from Springfield Union Station (55 Frank B. Murray St., Springfield) on Saturdays and Sundays. The Hartford Line commuter rail will also offer rail service to Union Station, where free shuttles will depart for the Big E at Gate 24.