Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Winter Wonderland descends upon the Big E grounds

Date: 11/22/2013

By Carley Dangona

WEST SPRINGFIELD – A new exposition captures the nostalgia of the window shopping of yesteryear where people would stroll down avenues lined with department stores, viewing each retailer’s take on the holiday season.

New this year, the New England Center of the Eastern States Exposition is home to the new exhibit, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, that features storefront-style holiday scenes in with modern and traditional themes, set to music and video and complete with falling snow.

From celebrations in the city to ice skating in the park – even a candy-covered Christmas tree – there is a display for everyone, young or old.

“We are so excited to share the magic created on Fifth and Madison Avenues with the greater Springfield community,” Jim Circerichia, co-founder of Walking in a Winter Wonderland, said. “Our exhibit spans over 5,000 square feet of indoor space and is wholesome family fun for everyone.”

A team of local fashion and home furnishing merchandising experts and special-events designers with more than 100 years of combined experience with premier retailers such as Macy’s, Filene’s and Lord & Taylor created the self-guided tour, which features five thematically staged rooms enveloped by a forest of 155 sparkling trees.

Joseph Cusanelli, a special event design known for his work at The Haunted Graveyard at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Conn., explained his love for his work.

“The excitement of creating and sharing the experience with all ages [is why I enjoy creating scenic displays]. Seeing the expressions on the kids’ faces makes it all worth it,” he said, adding that the Wonderland is a “winter holiday celebration that’s welcoming to everybody.”

Other features of the Wonderland include a free 4” by 6” family photo taken and printed on-site at the green-screen photo studio; surprise visits by Santa Claus; and special signature treats created by Storrowton Tavern available on select days to compliment the experience. Additional photos can be purchased for a nominal fee.

A gift shop with trinkets for all is stationed at the end of the displays. Items include old-fashioned Christmas ornaments, candies, figurines, Irish-themed housewares, handmade greeting cards and more.

The Wonderland is open until Jan. 5, 2014. Free parking is available at gate two on the Eastern States Exposition grounds. Tickets are available at the door and cost $10 for adults and are free for children younger than 12 when accompanied by and adult. The exhibit is handicap accessible.

Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m., Friday from 3 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit