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Eastern States Exposition – Home of the Big E – Uses MassDevelopment Bond for Horse Barn Addition

June 15, 2011

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Noreen Tassinari, Eastern States Exposition, 413-205-5037

MassDevelopment has issued an $8.9 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of Eastern States Exposition (ESE) in West Springfield, home of The Big E agricultural fair and Storrowton Village Museum. The organization will use bond proceeds to build a 10,725-square-foot equestrian warm-up arena as an addition to the C Barn Building and install an overhead canopy to connect the C Barn to the Coliseum. Bond proceeds will also refinance previous bank debt for facility improvements. Chicopee Savings Bank purchased the bond.

“Whether it’s the livestock, native produce, and creative arts competitions at The Big E or the authentic recreated village of Storrowton, ESE provides a wonderful venue to showcase the agricultural and artistic vibrancy of Western Massachusetts,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “This low-cost financing will help expand the facility and draw more people to the diverse offerings of the region.”

Founded in 1916, ESE has highlighted the agriculture, youth, foods, consumer goods, entertainment, arts, and history of New England for nearly a century. Each year, ESE holds dozens of agricultural events, equine events, and trade and consumer shows at its 175-acre location. The Storrowton Village Museum and Tavern is an authentic, recreated village of nine 18th- and 19th-century buildings from Massachusetts and New Hampshire around a traditional town green. The Big E, the eighth-largest fair in North America, runs for 17 days each September and draws more than one million visitors each year.

“The MassDevelopment bond is a great financial tool that has enabled Eastern States Exposition to expand its facilities beyond its normal capabilities. The centerpiece of the bond issue supports the financing of a new horse show arena that will add to the overall economic stimulus in the Pioneer Valley,” said Wayne McCary, President and CEO of ESE.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2010, MassDevelopment financed or managed 238 projects in 104 communities across the state generating investment of nearly $1.4 billion in the Massachusetts economy.