Opening day of The Big E brings thousands of people to western Massachusetts

Hampden County

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s fair season in western Massachusetts! Familiar sounds and the smell of fried food in the air signals the start of another Big E season.

“Really excited, I love The Big E. It’s really fun. I come every year,” said Rielyn Pike of Worthington.

For some visitors, they’ve been waiting all year for some fair food and some of The Big E’s finest deep-fried delicacies. But for other’s, it was some new additions to the fair that brought them out.

Two students from East Longmeadow told 22News they did a short day at school so they could see Brynn Cartelli in one of her several Big E performances.

“There’s no assigned seating, first come first served,” said Madden O’Sullivan. “There were a lot of people there. We got there at 11 a.m. and sat there for a couple of hours and it started filling up. She sang some of her songs and covers. It was really good.”

The Massachusetts Building at the state’s biggest fair is celebrating a big birthday. 2019 marks 100 years since the construction of the state building on The Big E grounds.

A favorite stop for many long-time visitors. Andrew Mirkowski told 22News, “We got a lot of pictures in Massachusetts. Pretty much all of the buildings except Rhode Island and New Hampshire. We saw the parade, we got some Maine Potatoes. We also got some kettle corn.”

The Big E’s 2018 opening day set a new first-day record at more than 87,000 people. But with clear, cool weather, 2019 might just have it beat.

And the midway here at the Big E closes at 11 on weekends.

TRAFFIC22News Live Traffic Map

The start of The Big E always brings traffic concerns, but a lot of visitors told 22News Friday, there were no major headaches making it to the fair.

Though the Morgan Sullivan Bridge is down to one lane in each direction, there were officers directing traffic. The Big E also has live traffic updates so visitors can find the fastest route.

One visitor from Connecticut said even around rush hour, he didn’t have much trouble getting in.

“This year it was good,” said Steve Boland of Southington. “There was a little accident on 91 but they re-routed us. We got a great parking spot, took about a half-mile walk down the road. Got here right away.”

Saturdays at the fair do typically see the most visitors, so traffic could be heavier with more than 100,000 people expected at the fair.

The Big E is offering weekend shuttles from several locations, and King Ward is running shuttles from MGM Springfield.

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