brimfield 9 photo collage X360

LOCAL BETTY FIELDTRIP: Brimfield Antique Fair – From the Random to Sublime {and back again}

People fly in from thousands of miles away, it's a mecca, a haven, an institution. The Brimfield Antique Show happens three times a year, May, July and September {check the website for dates}. The show rolls out encompassing 100's of acres filled with over 5000 dealers. 

There isn't anything you can't find.  Homemade bust of Red Skelton? Check. Box of swizzle sticks? Got it. Crate of naked Barbies?  Why of course.  Evidently, there's a buyer for everything...everything. That in mind it can be overwhelming so we’ve asked some local Brimfield regulars how to do it, and most importantly what not to do.  So, here is the skinny on Brimfield:

Parking: The most expensive parking is around $10 all day, along the main route 20.  It’s worth it to be close; you’ll feel doubly blessed after an entire day walking around the fields. Go ahead, park like a boss.

Layout: Understand that Brimfield is actually made up of many large “fields” of dealers with different specialties. Do go to brimfieldshow.org and take a look at the field map to determine what days they are open, and plot your strategy. If you have something specific in mind do a little research beforehand so you know where to find it {and what to pay.} Betty's peeps reccomend J&J Promotions, Heart O' The Mart, and New England Motel to start. Take notes on your favorite fields so you target them the next time you have enough fortitude time to go. 

Gear: Dress casually, bring layers {a rain poncho is handy}, wear sneakers, and don’t dress like a Hingham housewife {vendors can smell affluence a mile away}. If you collect Kewpie dolls wear a tee-shirt that says “I collect Kewpie dolls” {there! Just by doing that you ensure that you won't look like a Hinghamite}. You’d be surprised at how many people will point you to the Kewpie dealers.  Bring a backpack with water, water and more water. No need to bring food, there are great food options there.  If you can, bring a light weight wheeled wagon or a basket so you can easily transport items. 

Haggling: Do bring cash and bargain – dealers prefer cash but many will accept checks. Some of the higher end dealers will accept credit cards but when you whip out that gold card your bargaining cred suffers. The best deals are found on rainy days, in the booths in the back and sides of the fields that are often overlooked,  and of course on the last day. If you are looking for a specific piece of furniture, bring a measuring tape and measurements of the space you want to fit. {Or follow Robin's advice and photograph the room you're looking to decorate}. Scale is hard to appreciate when you are purchasing items in a field!

Hauling: Leave your purchases and pick them up later. Almost all vendors will let you leave your newly acquired treasures at their tent to pick up later. Shipping for larger items can be arranged if it doesn’t fit in your car.. Make a note of the surroundings, displays, field and booth where you left your purchases – you will forget. You will not forget, however "pink tent with bust of Red Skelton out front."

Unless you’re really serious, Brimfield is more of an experience than a destination. The casual vistor can just dig around, find cool things, and hunt for unusual finds.  There are times that you come across that one-of-a-kind-item that you just have to have, and there are times that you get caught up in the whole experience, and find yourself walking home with that box of swizzle sticks. Take it in stride. Get up early, go with a fun friend, be prepared for a very long day and enjoy it. 

We believe that like eating a fluffernutter, King Richards Fair, and wearing red lipstick, Brimfield falls into the category of “one of those things you have to do…at least once.”

THANK YOU to John Lawler for his keen eye and wonderful photography.

{Go here> to Betty's Brimfield Pinterest Board to see her finds} 

< BACK