I spend more time than I should watching HGTV, and my current favorite show is Flea Market Flip. I’m captivated by the “before and after” transformations of the old pieces they find at antiques shows and flea markets. One of the markets regularly featured is the Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, Massachusetts. It’s supposedly the world’s largest outdoor antiques fair, so that was all the reason I needed to plan an outing.
Brimfield is a small town, with Route 20 (Main Street) running through it. The antiques show, which has run since 1959, is situated on both sides of this road along a one mile stretch. Technically, the show is multiple smaller markets, each with their own days and hours of operation. There are 21 show fields in all, and more than 3,000 dealers at full capacity. There are a handful of buildings, but most dealers are under tents.
The best decision I made was to not bring the kids. Instead, I brought a friend who loves to shop as much as I do. There is a LOT of ground to cover, and my kids would have hated it. We tracked our walking, and logged close to four miles over two days. And this was the July show, which is the smallest in terms of number of exhibitors. There are three shows each year – May, July, and September.
It was an amazing smorgasbord of antique and vintage finds, as well as the random stuff you would find at anyone’s garage sale. At the end of the weekend, my loot consisted of vintage tourism postcards for my collection, earrings made from old keys, a scarf, and a decorative wall hanging made from old tin ceiling tiles.
There are “regulars” who know the layout well and know which dealers they like. But it seemed to me that most of us were newbies, taking it all in, and shopping with no real plan of attack. If you are new to it all, here are some of my suggestions:
Tips for Shopping the Brimfield Antiques & Collectibles Show
Parking at Brimfield and Other Logistics
Expect to pay to park, anywhere from $4.00 to $10.00. There are several lots, all independently operated. Most are grassy and unpaved. There are no real bathrooms, just “porta-potties”. There is a selection of food vendors spread around, with one concentrated food court area. Some food trucks offer really tasty, non-junk options.
What to Bring to Brimfield
Pack your car with the same stuff you would for a day hitting local tag sales. Water, sunscreen, snacks, a tape measure, a wheeled cart, and lots of cash in small denominations. Check the weather forecast before you go. We brought umbrellas and were glad we did during a passing storm.
How to Shop Brimfield
Tackle one section at a time. We parked at one end, walked along one side of Route 20 until we hit the intersection of Mill Lane Road, then crossed the street and worked our way down the opposite side of the street until we reached our parking lot. The next day, we reversed our strategy on the other side of Mill Lane Road.
Be ready to haggle and negotiate. It’s expected. Get comfortable saying, “What’s the best you can do on this?”
Hey YOU! Go BIG!
Brimfield Antique Show
Use this address for your GPS to find it:
Brimfield Town Hall
23 Main Street, Brimfield, MA 01010
Remaining 2015 Brimfield dates:
September 8-13, 2015
2016 Brimfield dates:
May 10-15, 2016
July 12-17, 2016
September 6-11, 2016