WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Eastern States Exposition has announced Machine Gun Kelly as a performer for the Big E’s opening night but organizers are still waiting on word if they can put on the fair.
After one year without New England’s Great State Fair as a result of the pandemic, many are hopeful 2021 will be the Big E’s big comeback.
22News Reporter Kristina D’Amours spoke with Noreen Tassinari, director of marketing for the Eastern States Exposition, to find out details surrounding the plans to hold The Big E fair beginning September 17 to October 3.
“We are optimistic that the Big E will take place in September, but at this point we have not received official word,” said Tassinari.
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For Cheryl Chavis of Agawam and her son Ty, it’s the food and games that they miss the most.
“After all of the pandemic it would be nice to get some kind of normalcy,” said Chavis. “He’s very excited. I think the kids suffered more than anything and us adults with the food.”
But it’s still unknown if the state will green-light the fair this year. Noreen Tassinari, marketing director of the Eastern States Exposition, said they are staying optimistic.
Big E organizers are moving forward with the process of making preparations. Tassinari said the fair requires months of planning, and some have to be made now, including major entertainment announcements.
Brad Paisley will perform in concert on September 24 and will mark the 20th anniversary of the first time he played at The Big E.
“It’s a major undertaking to produce a fair this size,” said Tassinari. “And we are working daily, on a daily basis, for all of the preparations so we can welcome the guests.”
As for how COVID-19 protocols may look at the fair, Big E organizers are studying how other fairs are reopening country-wide, and paying close attention to state guidelines to create a safe environment when guests come to the Big E.
If the Eastern States Exposition does get the ok to put on the fair, the dates would be September 17-October 3.
The decision to cancel The Big E fair last year was on June 29, 2020 “for the safety of our fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers, and the broader community.” That decision came after weeks of back and forth debates between the town and fair officials on whether it was safe to hold the fair amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the fair was canceled in 2020, they managed to open a drive-thru fair foods to go in September and October. A winter wonderland drive-thru took place over the holidays at the Better Living Center on the Big E grounds. The building was transformed into a holiday maze of holograms and three-dimensional images.
The Big E fairgrounds is now open to the public offering drive-in movies throughout the summer.