The family that travels together makes memories together! The Big E, a seventeen day fair held annually in West Springfield, MA is the place to build those souvenirs of the mind; both you and your kiddos will be talking for months afterward about the fun at The Big E.
Whether it’s a cooking competition between a youth agricultural club, a demonstration on how to spin alpaca wool, or attending a concert, this New England exposition is sure to please. Be amazed by a circus trapeze artist, check out the lineup of vintage cars, and watch the animals and marching bands in the daily parade.
View the transformation of 600 pounds of butter into an original sculpture or watch a demonstration of the strength of a Clydesdale horse. Sample a giant corn dog and some barbequed brisket accompanied by a glass of fresh apple cider.
What do you do after an exciting day like this? Retreat to the RV, of course, for a comfortable and cozy sleep that will energize everyone for the next day. Plan your next adventure to include The Big E.
Children five and under will walk through The Big E gates no charge while other family members will pay between $10 and $60, depending on whether you are buying single day passes or planning on utilizing a 17-day value pass. Midway Magic passes are extra so be sure to add those to your purchase. There will be days that feature gate discounts; check www.thebige.com for details. Remember to take a look at the special and state days to see if one in particular interests you.
You will most likely head to The Big E via either the I-90, I-91, or I-95. An hour outside of Boston, West Springfield is a city with a lot of green spaces. You’ll enjoy the beauty of the area as you approach the venue. State police and local law enforcement will aid in the directing of traffic; ask them for guidance as you get closer. Check the fair website for up to date information on which gate to head for to enter.
There is plenty of parking both on site and off. Closest to the action, the fairground parking spots are sold as available, so if your priority is to park on the grounds, get there early. The fairground parking lot works on a cash basis only. Adjacent parking lots are privately owned, and the fees will depend on the proximity to the park. Parking for those who have accessibility challenges is offered on a first-come, first-served basis as well.
A free shuttle travels to the fair and back from Springfield’s Union train station; The Big E posts the details of times closer to the fair date. The scheduling of the shuttle allows for trains to go back and forth many times throughout the day, making this an easy alternative for fair attendees.
Self-contained campers are allowed to park in the parking lot for a small fee, but keep in mind the number of spots put aside for this purpose is limited. If you want to roll out the awning or park a car beside your space, you will acquire additional fees. There are no reservations for spots, and they typically fill up quickly.
About 30 minutes north in nearby Hartford, CT, camping is described as breathtaking and naturally beautiful. Full hookups and ample room for big rigs are there for your enjoyment. RVers will love the choice of luxury or rustic. Head about an hour east to Worcester, MA, and you’ll find great amenities and plenty of starry nights.
The Big E is all about family, and there are rental options for strollers and wagons. If someone in your party finds it hard to get around a big fair, rent a scooter or wheelchair. Take note of the fact that if there is inclement weather, navigating any of these forms of transport can be a challenge. Be prepared with plenty of helpers on hand if needed.
Jeans or pants with a t-shirt make the grade for fairground apparel. A hat for protection from the sun and a jacket or sweater for the evening finish off the outfit. Pack the RV with clothing options for every temperature possibility; rain gear such as jackets and rubber boots are always a must due to the chance of mucky fairgrounds in the event rain stops by for the day.
As you prep the RV, include items like flashlights for getting around camp, toiletries for cleaning up after a hot day at the fair, and cooking supplies for the best campfire meals ever. Before leaving the campsite for the fairground, pack a bag with all you will need for the day. Bring sunscreen and sunglasses for the entire family. A change of footwear for the little ones can give relief to sore feet.
Every RV needs a well-stocked first aid kit, a supply of hefty bug repellant, and a refrigerator full of cold drinks to keep an active family hydrated. Make sure the kiddos are partaking in refreshments while at The Big E as well; they may be having so much fun they won’t want to stop for a drink. The fair will be a well-attended event so remember to lay the ground rules for sticking together right from the start.
Start the day off on the right foot with a hearty early morning meal. Make sure the propane in the RV is topped up; tasty fare like French toast and breakfast burritos can be quickly prepared in the galley before heading out for the day. Check the campsite rules for restrictions on outdoor cooking and then decide whether the bedtime snack will be s’mores or sliced apples topped with peanut butter and raisins.
Restaurants in West Springfield will entice you with Italian, Cajun, German, and Japanese dishes, to name a few. Whether the family has an appetite for pizza or a bowl of spicy Asian soup, no one will be left hungry after visiting an eatery before heading back to the campground.
Stop by the ATM, and then seek out The Big E merchandise, which is a huge draw for those looking to shop. The variety of vendors at the event is second to none; visit the booths to support local artisans who have come out to make the browsing and purchasing experience an essential part of the fair. Don’t forget to try the signature dessert first produced in 2002. It is called The Big E-clair and is a cream puff filled with a secret filling.
Security and police force personnel will be on hand for the duration of the fair. The security office is manned 24 hours a day throughout the seventeen days. Bags are subject to search when you enter the venue. If you need to leave The Big E, have your hand stamped and keep your ticket stub for re-entry on the same day.
Be prepared for a range of weather in West Springfield; forecasts are often described as a mixed bag of goodies. The days are typically warm for walking around, going on rides, and visiting exhibits at The Big E. Stock the camper with warm blankets as the nights can sometimes be cool temperature-wise in September.
Doctors and nurses are ready to serve if needed; you will find them at the First Aid Station. An ambulance is always on hand as well. The Fire Station, Lost People Center, and First Aid Station are situated close together, and well-trained personnel members are more than happy to assist. Certified service animals wearing proper certified-applicable gear are welcomed at the fair.