Until I started working for Eastern States Exposition as the Marketing department’s summer writer, I never understood how much work went into The Big E. To be honest, I never really thought about it, but the exposure I have had thus far has introduced to me the hard work and effort this company puts forth to ensure the 17 days of fun that takes place every September.
Behind closed doors, this company is smaller than you would expect. In the Marketing department alone, there are only five of us, myself included, but as a team we work laboriously to get out every piece of information to the public as quickly and efficiently as possible.
We are currently working on a variety of projects, sharing with the public the Fair details as they unfold. An even bigger challenge awaits us as we collaborate with Hard Rock New England in hopes of building the only hotel and casino resort destination in Western Massachusetts.
Here at The Big E we are excited for this opportunity to come to our community because the benefits are endless. As a company, Hard Rock International prides itself in philanthropy and preaches its motto, “Love all – Serve All” throughout the world and reaches out to others to help those in need.
Eastern States Exposition’s collaboration with Hard Rock is due, in part, to similar beliefs in giving back to the community. Since 1916, Eastern States has been a successful, not-for-profit company built from the ground up through the philanthropy and leadership of its founder Joshua L. Brooks.
Eastern States flourishes in its original mission to give back to the community and remains rooted in agriculture, so why would a corporation like The Big E encourage and invite a company like Hard Rock New England onto its grounds?
- Hard Rock’s presence will not take the place, or even interfere with, The Big E. The annual fair that you have grown to love will remain as is.
- Hard Rock has agreed to promote restaurants and other establishments by creating a Restaurants Association.
- Hard Rock will be purchasing an estimated $50 million worth of goods and services from local businesses annually. The developer will also create a network of small businesses and work to identify capabilities, products, services and resources with the help of the West of the River Chamber of Commerce.
- As part of a $35 million overall project cost, Hard Rock is planning to build a new exit off Route 5 to directly access the resort.
- Memorial Avenue gets a complete makeover spending more than $10.5 million in reconstructing the road from the Memorial Bridge rotary to the Morgan-Sullivan bridge. New sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and beautification are part of the project. In addition, bicycle lanes and ADA-compliant crosswalks will make the area more pedestrian-friendly. This will be at no cost to the Town or its taxpayers.
- Eastern States and Hard Rock will team up to support initiatives in the Town, including some of the organizations Hard Rock has already reached out to—The Parish Cupboard; Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield; The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts; the local Red Cross; American Cancer Society; West Springfield Garden Club; the Taste of West Springfield; Friends of the Library and others.
- It’s more than a Casino. Hard Rock New England will feature shopping, restaurants including the iconic Hard Rock Café, and an entertainment arena which will attract major musical acts and shows to the Pioneer Valley.
Many people express concern with the effects a casino will have on our community, but what they overlook is the benefits that an organization like Hard Rock will bring to West Springfield. Casino gaming is just a small detail in Hard Rock’s presence in this city, but unfortunately it is what people emphasize most. Hard Rock’s philanthropic ideals will work side by side with Eastern States Exposition’s beliefs in giving back to make West Springfield an even better place to live.