I arrived in West Springfield this evening with mixed emotions -- I have seen the devastating photos and video on television, and just wasn't sure if it was proper for us to do business there this weekend. But I am pleased to report that the locals are doing just that -- businesses are open, cleanup is underway. The fairgrounds and hotel areas are untouched. And I realized that if we cancelled, people here who work at the fairgrounds and surrounding businesses and rely on us for their livelihoods would suffer even more. But it was important to me to be certain we aren't going to get in the way of cleanup and such. We aren't . . .
So the show must go on, and if you were planning to come, I hope you will join us. I took some pictures so you could see from my perspective, but I did not go across the river to Springfield -- I felt it wasn't my place to do so.
Long shot of the grounds at the Eastern States Exposition (the Big E), and the Better Living Center where the show will be held -- from the street, it appears that the entire fairgrounds is untouched. I also drove through the West Springfield hotel area and where we're staying out by the Hartford Airport -- both areas are also untouched.
But less than a mile away, there are lots of damaged trees. If you come in from the "rotary" on Rt. 5, you'll see this church building (I think the church actually closed a year or two ago) and the damage to the trees that surround it. I took five pictures of the church area.
A lot of trees and some buildings are damaged in the area closer to the river and the Rt. 5/Memorial Avenue rotary. I held up my camera and snapped a bunch of pictures without looking while I was driving. These were the ones that were in focus.
Just north of and inside the Rt. 5/Memorial Ave. rotary
And I saw a couple of these – semi trailers hauling branches away. We had small tornadoes and some nasty thunderstorms in our area last week, but nothing like this. Somehow, softball-sized hail just doesn’t compare.