I've always bought my tickets at the door and never had to wait. The tickets have always allowed you access to whatever clinics or presentations were going on, but I didn't look at the web site this year, so I don't know if that's changed. It does look as though Fantasia tickets are no longer on sale, but you can always ask when you get there.
I live locally, so I don't know anything about the hotels, but Springfield's a small city with the usual name brand hotels.
I would park my car there, because while you could get a cab from the hotel to Equine Affaire, getting a cab back might be tougher, it's not really on a street where cabs just drive by.
I like to go on Thursday, when it's less crowded; I save a vacation day for this every year.
It's very much the same from year to year, so if you don't make it this year, you can plan ahead for next year.
Best tip: Bring cash only for the most you want to spend, so you don't get carried away
I've been going for years, now with a friend whose brother lives nearby so we don't have to do the hotel thing. I have gone for 4 days once or twice, but by Sunday was so pooped out and shopped out that I left early.
Your ticket allows entry to everything, including C barn. They have added a bunch more booths over the past couple of years, so there are more vendors than ever. There is no Versatility Challenge this year so they could add a few more clinics.
Fantasia tickets are probably sold out but you often can find them at the information booth, depending on what night you want.
The lines for admission tickets are not that bad. We happen to buy tickets online so we don't have to wait. The worst traffic is on Saturday morning if you are coming from the Mass. Turnpike.
I don't know how it compares to other horse expos, but it's certainly the biggest in the east.
Fantasia is the same show every night. Sometimes people are standing outside the entrance that night selling their spare tickets.
I always buy my general admission tickets when I get there, and never had to wait more than 2 minutes.
Their site has hotels listed.
I'm trying to have a COTH meetup...thread elsewhere on Off Course....