|By Michelle Kealey|
WEST SPRINGFIELD In keeping with the theme that "memories are made at the Big E," the Eastern States Exposition (ESE) has teamed up with North American Midway Entertainment to host a wedding for one couple chosen by the public, complete with unlimited rides and a cream puff wedding cake.
Noreen Tassinari, director of marketing for the ESE, said that North American Midway Entertainment has been hosting a wedding at each of the fairs in which the company operates a Midway throughout the United States and Canada.
She added that when the company approached the ESE about a marriage during the Big E, ESE officials thought it was a "wonderful idea."
"We thought [that] since we are in the special event business, we could have a lot of fun staging a wedding and creating a memorable event for a lucky couple," she said.
The deadline for couples to enter was Aug. 24, but the voting begins soon. Sixty-one couples applied to the contest.
The interested couples had to apply online by submitting a picture along with a 150 word essay about why they should be chosen as the winner to be married.
Tassinari explained that a panel of three judges will look at the essays and photographs to narrow the field down to ten couples for the voting portion of the contest.
She said the judges will look for originality, creativity and sentimentality, which are the three criteria given by the North American Midway Entertainment company.
Once ten semi-finalists are chosen, the public will be able to visit the Big E's website (www.thebige.com) to view the essays and photos and to vote for their favorite couple.
The voting will take place Aug. 30 through Sept. 6.
The couple chosen will be married at the Midway of the Big E. Tassinari said that the exact location has not been determined yet, but added that she would like to have the giant wheel as the backdrop.
"We need to see how the lot is laid out," she said.
The ceremony will be conducted by Justice of the Peace Richard C. Authier.
Once the couple is chosen and they are notified on Sept. 7, Tassinari said that the first step will be the wedding dress.
She said there will be 10 days to plan the wedding and the bride's measurements will need to be taken and sent to Los Angeles to the designer.
Tassinari said the designer of the wedding dress is ABS Allen Schwartz, who creates all of the knock-offs of the dresses worn by celebrities during the Oscars.
In addition to the ceremony and wedding dress, the couple will receive a cream puff wedding cake, flowers by 1-800-FLOWERS, wedding bands by Ted's Creative Jewelers, hair and make-up by Sandy's Body Wraps and Spa, one-year service from Sirius Satellite Radio and Direct TV and a reception.
For the reception, 100 friends and family members of the couple will enter the Big E for free and will receive free Midway rides and food for three hours after the ceremony.
According to Tassinari, a sound system will be brought out for entertainment and the public will be able to be in the vicinity of the wedding. All 100 guests will be seated.
The wedding will take place the second day of the Big E Sept. 17.
The Big E will take place Sept. 16 through Oct. 2 this year. For more information, visit www.thebige.com or call (413) 205-5115.
North American Midway Entertainment was newly formed through the combination of Conklin Holdings, Inc., Farrow Amusement Company and Thebault-Blomsness, Inc.
Conklin Holdings, Inc. have operated the Midway at the Big E and is now part of North American Midway Entertainment.