How to get to The Big E hassle-free
How to get there
The Big E's website (thebige.com/directions.aspx) provides directions from the Berkshires and points west; Connecticut and points south; southwestern Connecticut; Bradley International Airport; Boston and points east; New York City; Long Island; and Vermont and points north. The page also includes the destination address (875 Memorial Ave., West Springfield, Mass.) or coordinates (42 05'38.88 N - 72 36'42.36 W - Elev. 52 ) you'll need to plug in if you're using a GPS device.
TIP: The site says that local law enforcers will be re-routing drivers if traffic is heavy, sending them on the quickest paths to The Big E. While your GPS device might go into a "re-calculating" tizzy, follow the officers' directions. The Big E will also be posting traffic and route updates online, so keep refreshing the fair's website to get the latest information.
Remember, weekends tend to be the busiest time to attend the Big E, so factor in extra time for your trip for traffic. To avoid sitting on the off ramp for an hour, you may want to leave extra early or take a day off during the week to attend.
Where to park
Again, The Big E's website is your friend; check out thebige.com/p/generalinfo/gettinghere/parking for comprehensive parking information. Private lots will be selling spots near the The Big E, but Gate 9 is the fair-affiliated parking's home. There, automobiles ($10) and campers ($20) can find spaces; handicapped parking is also inside this gate but in an area marked Gate 9A.
TIP: Bring cash: "There are no ATMs near Gate 9," the site notes.
Hitch a ride
There will be a round-trip shuttle bus from the Enfield Square Mall in Enfield, Conn., to The Big E on Saturdays and Sundays. The bus will depart every 30 minutes from the mall's commuter lot beginning at 9 a.m. After 5 p.m., the bus only makes return trips every 30 minutes from The Big E. The last bus will leave The Big E at 11 p.m.
A round-trip bus ticket and fair admission package costs $15 for children ages 6-12 and $20 for adults. A round-trip ticket by itself is $5. Parking at the mall is free. Tickets are available at the lot from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can only be paid in cash.
For more information about the shuttle, thebige.com/p/generalinfo/gettinghere/shuttle or call 413-593-3939.
— Benjamin Cassidy, The Berkshire Eagle
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