The annual Big E fair on Monday became the latest signature Massachusetts event to call off its 2020 offerings, as fair organizers said they did not believe they could safely run the gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 104-year-old event, which was scheduled from Sept. 18 through Oct. 4, is located in West Springfield. Organizers said the decision was not made lightly.
“In fact, it’s was one of the hardest decisions we, as an organization, have had to make in modern times,” said Gene Cassidy, chief executive of Eastern States Exposition, the nonprofit that hosts the annual event.
Cassidy notes there is precedent for suspending the fair: it was put on hold during World War I and for five years during World War II.
“We’ve made it through difficult times before,” Cassidy said. “Together, we’ll get through these unprecedented times as well.”
The decision was made for the safety and health reasons on behalf of vendors, staff, artists, and the 1.6 million people who attend and support the fair every year.
“Despite exploring all our options and planning extensively, we realized that the Big E experience that everyone has come to know and love would not be the same.”
All purchases for the Zach Williams concert scheduled for Sept. 20 will be refunded in full, Cassidy said.
Also Monday, organizers announced that next year’s Big E will be held from Sept. 17 through Oct. 3, 2021.
Watch the full video statement: