Community Connections





On behalf of the staff and trustees of Eastern States Exposition, I bring you a very difficult message to convey.
For the safety of our fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers and the broader
community, we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Big E.
Please know that this decision was not made lightly. In fact, it was one of the hardest decisions we, as an
organization, have had to make in modern times. Please visit us for a video statement on our website –
The Big E Fair is so much more than just a fair, it is tradition, it is celebration, it is the showcase of everything
we are so proud of in New England. This is why our hearts are heavy as we bring you this news.
There is precedent in the Exposition’s 104-year history when the Fair was put on hold during WWI and for five
years during WWII. We’ve made it through difficult times before…the Flood of 1936…the Hurricane of 1938
and, 9-11, and together we’ll get through these unprecedented times as well.
We know our faithful fairgoers will be disappointed. This decision was difficult and complex but we all know in
our hearts that it’s the right thing to do for the health and safety of the 1.6 million people who support us each
Our staff has spent the last few months working tirelessly to figure a way to bring our annual New England
tradition to everyone this fall. 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.
We care for each and every one of our fairgoers and our job is to help you make the best memories possible.
Because of that, we must now switch our focus to the future. Please join us in doing that.
Thank you all for your support and we’ll see you September 17-October 3, 2021, when we can all celebrate
together again.
All purchases for the Zach Williams concert, scheduled for September 20, will be refunded in full. The Big E
Box Office will be contacting ticket purchasers directly.

Community Connections



The Springfield Museums hope to reopen to the public soon, in cooperation with Gov. Baker’s Reopening Massachusetts plan. The Museums could begin welcoming visitors inside in early July in alignment with Phase Three. (Currently visitors are welcome on Museums grounds).

Looking forward to reopening, the Museums have been purchasing CDC-recommended cleaning supplies in abundance; adding Plexiglas shields and no-touch credit card machines at the Welcome Center desk, Museum Store, and Blake House Café; increasing the signage for safety protocols including wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent washing of hands (please see list of protocols below); installing one-way traffic indicators for each museum and the Quadrangle Green; and securing personal protective equipment for staff.

“The Museums are working to ensure we offer a wonderful a museum experience, as our visitors have come to expect from our unique, multi-disciplinary museums,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums. “And we are putting into place protocols to help ensure visitor-experience is as safe as possible.” She added, “Each of us plays a role in a safe reopening, with social distancing, face masks, and additional health and safety precautions in place.”

The Museums have prepared for reopening by following CDC and state guidelines. Staff have also been in ongoing discussions with museum-peers around the world. “We are truly all in the same boat and pulling for each other,” Simpson said. “We have all benefited by sharing protocols and problem-solving together.” Simpson said Museums’ staff have been working toward reopening with excitement.

“We really miss everyone,” said Larissa Murray, Director of Education at the Springfield Museums. “Having families back at the Museums, ready to celebrate this summer will be such a great treat! And we are ready to make sure they have a great time.” Educators in each of the Museums’ facilitated spaces—the Cat’s Corner, the Smithsonian Spark!Lab, and the Art Discovery Center—have created single-use packets and set up activities that can be done at social distance.

For those comfortable with hands-on experiences, the Museums have all interactive exhibits in place and have added more hand sanitizing stations and more frequent cleaning by the staff. “We are encouraging visitors to sanitize their hands before and after they use an interactive,” Murray said.

For those who look forward to a low- or no-touch experience still informed by educators and curators, the Museums have introduced a mobile guide available through visitors’ cell phones. “The guide includes virtual gallery tours and maps,” Murray said. “And it features interactive scavenger hunts that integrate learning with fun facts and beautiful images,” Murray said. The Museums have also enhanced their cell phone audio tours, adding more stations to the Science Museum, D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, and Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum. The Seuss Museum audio tour is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

“For centuries, museums have offered a place of solace,” said Heather Haskell, Vice-President of the Springfield Museums and Director of the Art Museums. “We are a place where people can be together with plenty of room for social distance while still enjoying an experience in community.”

In a recent story featured on MassLive, museums rated a 3 on a risk level from 1-10 with 10 being the highest risk. The article said museums have large spaces and high ceilings, which helps lower the risk. Dr. Mimi Emig, a retired infectious disease specialist with Spectrum Health added that “[Museums] are also in a position to enforce masks and distancing better than many other spaces.”

Although the Museums are working toward an early July opening, they recognize that circumstances may change at any moment. Those interested in visiting should visit the Museums website first to make sure they are open and that there are tickets available.



Before You Arrive
The Springfield Museums is devoted to sparking curiosity for all who visit, whether in person or through our virtual offerings. When you do visit in person, we require the protocols below, which apply to all of our museums and grounds. These protocols are in place for your safety and for the safety of others.


  • FACE MASKS MUST BE WORN by all visitors older than 2, and by all staff members.
  • SOCIAL DISTANCING IS REQUIRED and will be enforced; parties of ten or less may remain together; children must stay with adults at all times.
  • Guests showing signs of illness at any time during their visit will be asked to return at a later date.
  • Because of limited capacities in each building, visitors might be required to wait outside in socially distanced lines.


  • Advance, online, timed-entry tickets are strongly encouraged. Please visit our Tickets page.
  • Visitor numbers are reduced and controlled at all locations. Visitors might have to either wait or come back to some exhibits and/or galleries over the course of their visit.
  • Credit or debit cards are encouraged. If you pay in cash, please consider donating any change owed to the Museums.


  • The Museums are featuring a new mobile website with interactive scavenger hunts and tours, maps, and the Blake House Café menu.
  • All interactives include sanitizing stations so visitors can clean their hands before and after using the interactives.
  • Senior Monday, 10 am to noon, is reserved for visitors 60 years and older at a reduced rate of $10 per ticket.
  • All facilitated spaces (The Cat’s Corner, Spark!Lab, and The Art Discovery Center) feature individualized kits and social-distanced activities. All materials will be sanitized between uses. All surfaces will be cleaned between uses.
  • All museums are set up for one-way traffic. Please abide by the guidance in each museum.
  • Social-distancing markers are placed throughout the museums and on the grounds to help remind all to keep safe.
  • Only one person or related people on elevators at a time.
  • Enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces will happen throughout the day; an exhibit might be closed for a short time for deep cleaning.
  • Hand-sanitizer stations are placed throughout the buildings; please use them to help protect yourself and others.
  • Drinking fountains are not available.
  • If you bring a picnic lunch, you can eat at social distance on the Quadrangle Green or, in rainy weather, in Tolman Auditorium. Eating is not permitted in the Welcome Center.
  • The Museum Store will allow 8 visitors at a time. Visitors can also reserve time to shop. Please call ahead for reservations 1-413-263-6800, ext 362.
  • The Blake House Café will have outside service only, with separate order and pick up windows.


About The Springfield Museums


THE SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in the heart of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated consortium of museums includes the Springfield Science Museum, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, and the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, the first and only museum dedicated to the beloved children’s book author and Springfield native.

The Museums are temporarily closed in response to the community health effort to slow and stem the spread of COVID-19. We will open again with great celebration once it is safe to do so.

Financial Women

GOFUNDHER.COM EXPANDS INTO 150 COUNTRIES, the new crowdfunding platform dedicated to women, celebrates its first anniversary with a significant expansion into more than 150 countries. This platform provides a safe place for women and their supporters to receive financial and community support. is pleased to offer direct deposit services in 39 countries including North America, Europe, India & Australia. Additionally, users will now be allowed to withdraw their money in these countries in 24 currencies. was launched on June 21, 2019, by Liberian born owner, Tracy Garley, and award-winning crowdfunding owner, Roger Mensah. Garley’s work goes beyond this initiative with her development of City Girls Big Dreams – a social networking organization. Together, City Girls Big Dreams and empower girls, women, and their supporters to collaborate with mentors, build an audience, and collect money online. City Girls Big Dreams hosts online dream session events to help girls, women, and their supporters learn about while simultaneously connecting them with mentors who help develop their projects, businesses, and ideas. provides unlimited fundraising pages with the ability to collect money from monthly donations or one-time donations. They have even eliminated the need to produce content for fans or develop a specific project.

For more information on, visit the website at,

Tracy Garley is a city girl with big dreams and big appetite. Owner of West African Lifestyle Brand, Zarkpa’s, founder of West African Catering company Culture in a Bowl, founder and CEO of City Girl Big Dreams and CEO of its sister brand, was born in the West African Country Liberia and she moved to the US at the age of eleven. She attended Western International High School in Detroit & Graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s Degree (B.A.Sc.) in Food Industry Management

Community Connections

Simsbury Art Trail Opens to the Public on June 5th!


The sculpture sensation that swept across Simsbury, Connecticut two years ago will make its highly anticipated return on Friday, June 5, 2020. The Simsbury Chamber of Commerce Art Trail will once again delight visitors with 37 lifelike bronze sculptures depicting people doing everyday activities placed outdoors throughout town. The works of internationally renowned sculpture artist Seward Johnson will be on display from June 5 through September 29, 2020.

The Simsbury Chamber of Commerce is bringing the Art Trail back to highlight the town’s 350th Anniversary celebration.

“When we first brought the Art Trail to Simsbury, we could not have imagined a more sensational and memorable event.” said Morgan Hilyard, Executive Director of the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce. “People traveled from all across the U. S. and the tri-state area in order to visit these sculptures and we expect an even better response this year given that our Art Trail offers a safe, fresh-air, family-fun experience during this extended COVID-19 quarantine period.”

Members of the local business community have been fervent supporters of the art installation and committed to sponsoring the 37 new pieces of art as soon as they were selected.

“We cannot express our extreme gratitude to our sponsors that have made our new sculpture installation a reality,” adds Hilyard. “Although it is too late to sponsor a sculpture, donations will be accepted to fund this beloved community project that is entirely self-supporting.”

Visit for more information about the event and to donate.

Seward Johnson, who passed away this March at age 89, was an artist, an advocate for the arts, and a philanthropist. His “Celebrating the Familiar” series, which makes up the greatest portion of this exhibition, was his first body of work. The sculptor went on to create two subsequent popular series: Icons Revisited, which includes the Forever Marilyn piece sited in Simsbury at Ensign House, and Beyond the Frame, a series inspired by the Impressionist master painters. The Simsbury show includes one such sculpture brought to life from a painting by Renoir in its display at the historical society. Johnson, who was the grandson of Johnson & Johnson co-founder Robert Wood Johnson, found his true calling as a sculptor in l969 when his first sculpture, “Stainless Girl,” won first place in a national art competition called the U.S. Steel Award. Johnson’s “Celebrating the Familiar” series features painted bronze figures engaged in the ordinary activities of daily life. The sculptures can be found in plazas and parks across the country, as well as in Italy, France, China and Australia. Johnson was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2013 and was given the International Sculpture Center’s lifetime achievement award in 2019. More information about the artist and is works can be found at

“Because in our busy society—filled with so much technology and mindless distraction—it’s easy sometimes to forget the simple things that give us pleasure.  If we open our eyes, life is marvelous.  The human spirit triumphs, if only for moments in a day.  I try to have my work call attention to those moments.”

– Seward Johnson

Health & Wellness

Positivity and perspective: How I changed my thoughts around my illness



By: Dee DiFatta

Being challenged with Multiple Sclerosis for 26 years has taught me that I am more robust and more resilient than I give myself credit. I am worthy, and I am living life to the fullest.

However, I did not always feel this way. Before I got my diagnosis, the day before my 22nd birthday, I was an over-achieving, stressed-out perfectionist. I was inflexible, unforgiving, and full of self-doubt. As a control freak who always knew best, I was unwilling to take advice from others. They told me to slow down, breathe, and take it easy on more than one occasion. But in my mind, I was on a mission to “Fit In” and be the best I could be. Undenounced to me, I was harbouring all kinds of negative emotions like guilt, resentment, and shame. And they were holding me back.

Although MS stopped me in my tracks, I was grateful to have a 2nd chance at life. Being forced to slow down and spend some time with me, myself, and I was challenging. But it allowed me to see things from a different perspective. As I started adjusting to life with M.S. and making modifications, I realized that I felt more empowered. Just because I was physically challenged did not mean I could no longer participate in things. On the contrary, I had inner strength like none other. And I was not about to let M.S. hold my mind and my spirit captive.

Don’t get me wrong; this did not happen overnight. And it was not a one and done. Every day I was challenged with negative thoughts and feelings. And every moment of every day, I chose how to deal with them. I have had my fair share of ups and downs, but I refused to quit and give up on life.

Instead, I decided to keep things in perspective and redefine M.S. I looked up all kinds of words in the dictionary starting with the letter “M” and “S.” And after reviewing 2 full pages of words, I chose a combination that defined me and my feisty personality. Redefining MS as Modified Swagger and Motivational Spitfire gave me a sense of power and purpose. I regained some pep in my step. By making this one little shift in my thinking, it set me free from my own insecurities. I was no longer bound and captive by my belief of being a victim of M.S.

I am in control now. I have even redefined myself as “A Work in Progress.” I am no longer ashamed of using mobility devices to get around. I have befriended my wheelchair and my walker. Instead of allowing them to make me feel weak, I have changed my thought process. I named my wheelchair “Proud Mary.” And a friend of mine came up with the name “D.I.V.A.” for my walker. She said it stood for “Dee is Independent, Vivacious, and Authentic.” It was empowering. I can get around much more comfortably. Thus, I feel stronger and more confident.

By making these little shifts to my thought process, I have regained energy and reclaimed my authentic self. I am not going to let society, doctors, a diagnosis of M.S., or any other circumstances define me. I have realized M.S. doesn’t punish me. I got a reminder of how special I am. I got the opportunity to be a positive role model.

This disease is not our destiny. It is a wake-up call to live life to the fullest and be consciously aware of our thoughts, words, and actions. We do not get to choose what happens to us in life, but we do get to decide how to deal with it.

After 48 years of life and 26 years with M.S., I am still moving forward. Positivity and perspective have helped me set myself free from limiting beliefs, self-doubts, worries, and fears. And MS has offered me a platform to share encouragement, guidance, and support to others.

If you would like to learn more about my movement: “PositiviDee,” feel free, follow me on:

Facebook at

YouTube by searching “Dee DiFatta” or “PositiviDee”


Guest written by Dee DiFatta, a Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker, Educator