The Big E finishes first weekend with more than 170,000 attendees

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Despite the gloomy day we had Saturday the number of fair-goers at The Big E this weekend was huge.

There were crowds everywhere. According to The Big E’s website, more than 170,000 people attended the fair on Friday and Saturday.

22News spoke with one group from Massachusetts about their favorite activities at The Big E.

“We got chocolate covered cookie dough and I think that’s been my favorite part so far,” ulia Pustaeri of Braintree said. Her friend agreed, “Oh my god, you have to try the chocolate covered cookie dough,” Ashley Speckerman of Hopkinton said.

While there are a lot of booths at The Big E, a particular one stands out. A coffee shop called BeanZ & Co. in Connecticut that prides itself on inclusivity.

“Both of us have daughters with down syndrome and we’re very well aware of the very high unemployment rate for people with intellectual disabilities once they get out of the school system,” company manager, Noelle Alix told 22News.

“So we thought maybe we could make a dent in that and start changing perceptions.”

They opened last December with only a staff of three, and now they have 20 people working for the company.

“The effect we’ve had in our community has been really large too. It’s been great to see them come in and really want to be a part of something that’s super special,” Co-Founder Kim Morrison told 22News.

Their staff is 50 percent staff with special needs and 50 percent without. They said they hope that attending The Big E will bring more attention to their mission and business. You can find their booth in the Connecticut building.

The number of attendees who came to The Big E Sunday has yet to be counted but officials say they expect next weekend to be even bigger.

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