12 May 2011

Brimfield Antiques Week...

Tuesday marked the beginning of the 2011 Brimfield season.  This weeklong outdoor antique show, held each May, July, and September is the largest of its kind in New England.  Spanning one mile along Route 20 in Brimfield, Massachusetts, the show hosts thousands of dealers from around the world and is visited by hundreds of thousands of collectors keen to find some must-have treasure.  I arrived yesterday morning around 9:00 but parking was uncharacteristically difficult to find even at that early-ish hour.  Many of the fields open at daybreak and close around 5:00 or 6:00 P.M.  You absolutely cannot see this show in one day and many people move in to the surrounding communities for the week.  Some fields open later in the week, so if there's a dealer you're interested in visiting it's helpful to know when he or she will be there.

Some tips:  Go as early as possible, not just to avoid the gladiatorial competition for a parking spot, but to have first choice of the best stuff.  You've got interior designers, magazine editors, major and minor celebrities and lots of savvy collectors and dealers looking for the same thing you are.  Get there first.
Bring paper money.  Many dealers will accept cash or checks but not plastic.  There are ATM machines available somewhere along the Route if you need them.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing and be prepared for strange weather. Be kind to your feet - you may be on the hunt for several hours. Even in May, it can get cold.  Yesterday was freezing.  People were wearing down parkas and mittens. July is typically kiln-like. Snow, hail, tornadoes, and downpours of a Biblical nature have been known to add some excitement to the day.
Do your homework.  It's fun just to wander about, but it can get overwhelming very quickly.  If you're looking for something in particular, try to figure out in advance where it might be.  This site and this site have some dealer links as well as maps and accommodation info. 
Be nice.  There are a lot of really good people at these shows.  Most are delighted to share lots of information and help you find what you need and they will be willing to lower their prices for people who ask kindly. 

The next show runs from July 12 through 17 and the final show runs from September 6 through 11. Enjoy the pictures!

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