WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – New England’s Great State Fair will go on, just not this year.
There is now a clearer picture of the deciding factors fair organizers took into consideration when making that painful decision to cancel this year’s Big E.
President and CEO Gene Cassidy feels bad for all the people who rely on The Big E for their economic wellbeing. Their focus now is on next year’s fair and how they can sustain themselves until then.
Cassidy told 22News, “The mayor and I spent time on the telephone we decided it was time to shut off the faucet.”
For the first time since World War II, The Big E will not be held this year. The resurgence of coronavirus cases in other U.S. states was a big reason why it was canceled.
“The fear is that with all these people coming from all over the place,” said Mayor Will Reichelt. “It’s six states just in New England’s states, and people come from New York and beyond. Even if we went above and beyond and did every single precaution we could possibly do, there is still no guarantee we could prevent a spread.”
The Big E mutually agreed with the town to cancel the fair. It was the hardest decision they ever had to make. One of the contributing factors to cancel it was just how busy this weekend’s drive-thru event was.
“It goes to show that people want to be back to normal,” said Cassidy. “Measuring the response from the weekend even indicated to use there was no way we could control the number of people who showed up at our gates.”
Cassidy told 22News they are working to discover newer and safer ways to utilize the fairgrounds and keeping the spirit of the fair alive. He’s also going to be working hard to ensure vendors and employees can come back to work for the next fair in 2021.
Nothing is set yet, but Mayor Reichelt said there are talks about having more drive-thru events so people can enjoy entertainment at the fairgrounds safely.