Big E gives food preview

(WFSB photo)

Fair goers flocked to West Springfield Friday for the start of the annual Eastern States Exposition.

The Big E got underway at 8 a.m.

It was more than just opening day for regular attendees. It was also military appreciation.

The event drew thousands of people from all across New England.

"This is the first time we've come on the first day ... loving it ... perfect day, perfect weather!" said Derek Carroll of Enfield.

The 100 year anniversary had food and games for visitors.

"We've been here since 8 o'clock this morning ... we're having a great day!" said veteran Richard Ostaszeski.

Visitors and veterans especially were excited to celebrate those who serve our country.

""I have people all the time, in fact I'll venture to say I'll have at least 15 people, come up to me and thank me for my service. It's quite heartwarming and appreciated," said Vietnam veteran Bud Lumis.

As part of the centennial celebration, there are several new features at the Connecticut building including the first-ever craft beer garden.

The director of operations, Gerard Kiernan, for the event has provided a shuttle for Connecticut resident.

"You get off, you park, you don't have to worry about traffic ... and you're sitting on the bus relaxing. And it's taking cars off 91 and make it easier to get to the fair," said Kiernan.

Buses will pick-up passengers at the Enfield Mall only for these next few weekends and leave every half hour.

The director said they've also set up a lot for employees to park and be dropped off at the front gate.

"We've rented lots off site where we're encouraging employees to park there and be dropped off at the front gate," said Kiernan.

In addition to that, it offered children's prices to everyone as part of its "be a kid for a day" celebration. That means tickets on Friday only were $10.

The event runs until October 2. Connecticut Day is on September 21.

For more information, head to the Big E's website here.

Check out photos from the Big E here.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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