WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Big E is underway!
Friday is Opening Day and Military Appreciation Day at the Big E dedicated to saluting military men and women past and present.
It’s the country’s largest veteran military outreach event.
Vietnam Veteran Peter Gay of Litchfield, Connecticut compares this salute to the reception Vietnam veterans received half a century ago.
“It makes me feel great but you know it’s 50 years too late but I respect it now, I do, I’m honored, I’m getting a lot more welcome homes than ever before,” said Gay.
Adding to the theme of this auspicious occasion, numerous booths manned by veteran service personnel along the avenue of states near the Massachusetts building
West Springfield veterans council member Roger Russeau would be named Veteran of the year for his service.
Russeau told 22News he’s, “Very proud of it, I didn’t see it coming, It hit me like a freight train, I think i’m still high, I’m very honored to be recognized for my work on the council,” on a day at the Big E where many stood out earning salutes for their service to home and country.
Admission is free for all active and retired military personnel.
In honor of opening day, ticket prices will also be reduced to $10.
After opening day, tickets are $15. For children ages 6 to 8 years-old, tickets will be $10. Children 5 years-old and younger get into the Big E for free.
Tickets can be bought at the gate, online, or at any Big Y store.
There’s also a Value Pass, which allows entry into all 17 days of the fair.
More information on ticket options and prices can be found here.
- Six-After-Five – Admission is only $6 after 5pm Mon. – Thurs.
- Senior Days – Age 60 and over just $12 Mon. – Thurs.
Cars, motorcycles, vans, and trucks will be able to park on the fairgrounds at Gate 9.
Parking prices for Gate 9 are as follows:
- Cars – $10
- Motorcycles – $5 at Gate 7
- Campers – $20 per space, per day
Parking fees at Gate 9 may only be paid in cash.
Handicapped parking will be available inside the Gate 9 parking area at Gate 9A.
Additional parking will be available at private parking lots in neighborhoods along Memorial Avenue.
For more parking information and directions click here.
CTrail and Amtrak Hartford Line customers can also take a free shuttle from Union Station to the Big E fairgrounds during the weekend.
If using your GPS to get to the fairgrounds, you can enter the following addresses:
- Gate 1: 1761 Memorial Avenue (West Springfield, MA 01089)
- Gate 2, Storrowton Village Museum and Storrowton Tavern: 1535 Memorial Avenue
- Gate 9: 875 Memorial Avenue
- Gates open: 8 am
- Avenue of States: 10am – 9pm
- Storrowton Village: 10am – 9pm
- Most Exhibits & Buildings: 10am – 10pm
- Midway: Sunday – Thursday, 11am – 10pm; Friday, 10am-11pm; Saturday, 10am – 11pm
- Craft Common: 10am – 10pm
- Agricultural Events: Agricultural activities begin early in the morning and are open to the public in the Mallary Complex.
Metal detectors will be used at every gate entrance to the fairgrounds. No weapons are allowed on the fairgrounds and all bags are subject to be searched at the gates.