Big E workers, police and fire keep fair running smoothly - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Big E workers, police and fire keep fair running smoothly

WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Day one of the Big E fair kicked off Friday.

While it may be all about fun and food for 17 days, a lot goes into making it happen, and keeping it running smoothly.

"Obviously it's a Herculean lift but we're really blessed at the Eastern States," said President of the Eastern States Exposition, Gene Cassidy. 

It takes quite a team to put on a 17 day fair that's touted as one of the biggest and longest running in the country.

"We draw 1.36 million people in the 17 days of the fair. There are no other events that can compete with that," Cassidy said. 

It's Cassidy's second fair as the President of the Eastern States, but he's been here for 24 years.

He stopped by CBS 3 Springfield's Big E studio Friday to talk about what it takes to make it run. He chalks it up to the nearly 1,000 employees that come back each year.

"As big a deal as it is, with all of us working cooperatively together it's easier than you think," Cassidy said. 

West Springfield's police and fire departments step in as well.

"Nothing stops in the rest of the city, everything's still going on, we still have calls, we still have a number of things we have to respond to, so this is in addition to what we have," said West Springfield Police Chief Ronald Campurciani. 

At any given time there are 20 firefighters and 50 police officers right on the grounds.

"We have a full medical staff that has a doctor, two nurses, ambulance driver and that's augmented by firefighters," said Gerard Kiernan, the director of operations at the Eastern States Exposition. 

All of these elements make the fair come together every year.

This year just like the rest, they kicked off the fair by thanking the armed forces, like Kyle Toto who runs a website for veterans services called massvetsadvisor.org. He says he loves coming to the Big E year after year.

"It's really rewarding to be here, we get to be with other veterans, and with veterans from different eras. I'm an Afghanistan veteran but we've seen Vietnam veterans, World War II veterans that were here today," Toto said. 

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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