Great place for wool lovers who use a rollator
I took my elderly mother, a rollator user, to the Fiber Festival of New England on Sunday, November 6, 2022. Tickets were $7/person and parking was $5/car. We spent about 4 hours there. We put her handicapped placard in the window as we drove onto the property. It was a 1-2 mile drive from where Google Maps told us to enter the fairgrounds to the actual building the festival was in. The entire festival was inside the Mallary Building at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. Most of the building had bright lighting, but there were a few spots with dimmer lighting. The festival was all on 1 floor, so no needing to climb stairs! Some doorways had little thresholds that my mom’s rollator easily went over. The floor was entirely flat concrete with no tripping hazards. The aisles were wide so my mom could easily move around. Most of the vendor booths had paths in them that were wide enough for the rollator. Being a fiber festival, many vendors had bright, colorful yarn displays that might be visually overstimulating for some people. I didn’t notice any outlets available for public use, so make sure devices are fully charged before you leave your car. Parking: As we approached the building, I asked one of the parking attendants about handicapped parking and he directed us to park along the building next to an exit. I had parked the car on asphalt and it was about a 10 foot walk on asphalt to a long flat sidewalk. We arrived about 10 minutes before the festival opened and there was already a line of 20-30 people, so walking to the end of the line took my mom about 3 minutes to do on flat sidewalk. Entrance: I had previously bought tickets and downloaded the pdf tickets to my phone. There was a ticket booth outside for people who didn't purchase them online. Once it was our turn to enter, I handed my phone to the ticket taker who scanned the first QR code, then I took the phone back, scrolled down to the second QR code and the employee scanned that. No one was checking bags, so it’d be easy to bring supplies that fit into a backpack. There were maps on the table with the ticket scanners. They were black and white and had booth numbers. On the back was a page listing the vendors and the lots their booths were set up in. It would’ve been helpful if the ticket entrances and door numbers were clearly labeled on the map. Vendor List: https://www.easternstatesexposition.com/p/fiberfestival/vendor-list Black and White Map: https://cdn.saffire.com/files.ashx?t=fg&rid=EasternStatesExposition&f=Fiber_Festival_Floor_Plan.pdf Restroom: In the women’s restroom there were 2 handicapped stalls and 8-10 regular stalls. After using the toilet, you had to go to an adjoining room for the sinks and paper towels. This was not obvious the first time we visited the restroom. There was a very helpful attendant in the women’s restroom who offered to move a large trash can if my mom’s rollator couldn’t fit through the narrow passageway to the exit. However, her rollator did fit through it even with the trash can there. There was also a men’s restroom and a family restroom, but we didn’t use either of those. Fiber: Something that would’ve been helpful is if there was a posted list somewhere with vendors who sold yarn that did not contain animal fibers. The only one we found was Sassy Black Yarns who had DK weight, 100% Pima Cotton yarn in about 6-8 colorways. Places to Sit: There were A LOT of benches. There were 2-3 benches by Cozy Color Works (booth # 401/02 East). The main aisle had benches lining both sides every 5-10 feet. The sheep shearing demo area had a few bleachers and my mom was able to get a front row seat on the bleachers. I’d recommend showing up to the demo 5-10 minutes early to make sure you get a front row bleacher seat if you can’t climb the bleacher stairs. The seating in the food court was 100% picnic tables with attached benches. It would’ve been nice for there to be an armless chair at the end of each picnic table for people who can’t sit on picnic table benches. Allergies: Not a good place for someone who’s allergic to animal fibers or farm animals. Food court options were limited, so not a great place to accommodate food allergies. Food Court: It had 3-4 vendors. Only 1 vendor had salads and sandwiches. The others offered fried food, carnival food, or alcohol. There was plenty of bottled water for sale in the food court. For people with strict dietary needs, it’d be best for them to bring a bag lunch. Food court seating was only picnic tables. Quiet Space: At first the building was very quiet when it opened at 9am, but more people trickled in as the day went on. The best area for quiet space would be the Workshop area because that got very little foot traffic. Another option would be the benches by booth # 401/02 East.
- When did you visit: November
- Review Type: Physical
- Cost: $
- Length of visit: More than 3 hours