Big E vendors preparing for large crowds on opening day

Hampden County

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A lot of excitement at the Eastern States Exposition, as they get set to open up the region’s largest fair, after a two year hiatus caused by the pandemic.

You could see Thursday all across the fairgrounds, vendors and ride operators getting last minute things done.

“We’re ready, we are doing landscaping here, just doing a last run through, getting our dips and toppings prepped,” said Lora Schaller, Owner of Gertrude’s Pretzels. “Making sure we are ready to feed!”

“The last minute things will happen until the moment the gates open tomorrow,” said Eastern States Exposition President, Gene Cassidy. “Everybody is nervous and frankly they haven’t worked for 2 years, so a lot of fine tuning.”

The pandemic is still a concern for this year’s fair, but COVID-19 precautions are in place. With West Springfield’s indoor mask mandate in effect, you’ll need a mask with you at the big E so you’ll have to wear it inside the state buildings. But Cassidy says this is for the best, knowing how crowded they can get.

“The mask mandate is for inside buildings, there’s no outdoors mask mandate, but if people feel safe with one on, they should have one on,” said Cassidy. “I expect this to go off without a hitch.”

Cassidy told 22News they are pushing their “Good Clean Fun Campaign.” You’ll be seeing these signs, to serve as a reminder for good hygiene, sanitation, and to urge people who are sick, to leave the fairgrounds.

It’ll be Machine Gun Kelly performing for opening night, so they’re definitely anticipating a bigger crowd in the evening. And some of the new food items this year, popovers with pulled pork, fried dill pickles stuffed with a hot dog, and White Hut’s waffle bacon double cheeseburger.

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