The Ultimate “How to Shop Brimfield” Rookie Guide (From A Brimfield Vet)

published Jul 7, 2017
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(Image credit: Hung Quach/Stocksy)

There is a lot of great antiquing around the country, though few flea markets can compare to the Brimfield Antique Show. The massive market occurs three times each year—in May, July and September in the small town of Brimfield, Massachusetts, and while each month has its merits, I have been told that the best markets are in May and September (both of which I’ve been to and have not been disappointed with). If you’re thinking of taking your first design pilgrimage to Brimfield this summer, we’ve rounded up a few essentials to know before you go that will help you go from rookie to pro before even stepping foot on the fairgrounds. Happy hunting!

What to Pack

  • Cash: Cash is king at this show. This is your grandma’s flea market, so it’s important to know beforehand that many of the vendors don’t accept credit cards. With eager buyers lining up behind you, your lack of cash could kill the deal.
  • Old Blankets: These aren’t for snuggling; they’re for your car. Many vintage treasures have a few years worth of dirt caked on them. You will want to have some spare blankets in your car to keep it clean and for protecting your new treasures should they be delicate.
  • Tote Bags: Do yourself a favor and pack some sturdy, foldable tote bags. Sellers will offer plastic bags, but they can rip throughout the day.

What to Wear

  • Layers: Many flea marketers will be getting up at the crack of dawn to do their shopping. In order to get the goods, you better be waking up then, too. Keep in mind that you might be on the grounds from 6am to 6pm, so you may need to add or shed layers throughout the day. Bring a light sweater or long-sleeved shirt to stay warm. Additionally, wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Proper Footwear: If it is raining, you will want to wear boots, as the grounds can get pretty muddy. If the forecast is calling for clear skies, stick to sneakers.
  • Sunscreen: A hat will be your best buddy to keep sun out of your eyes. You’ll also want to wear sunscreen to prevent burning.

What to Buy

  • Artwork: There is no shortage of artwork at this fair. I have gotten some of my best pieces here. You can find florals, portraits, nautical paintings and landscape art. Truthfully, if you dedicate the time to the hunt, you’ll walk away with what you are looking for.
  • Furniture: This category is another no brainer. Sofas, chairs, coffee tables, beds and bookcases: these are all plentiful and up for grabs. Some items are in mint condition, though most are in a perfectly vintage state. If you plan to make such a large purchase, be sure to secure a van or truck beforehand. Daily laborers will be on hand to help you get your new finds to your vehicle.
  • Decor: Almost every vendor has some sort of decorative accessories for you to shop. Some may call these items knick knacks, but think of them as treasures. Smaller accents are a great way to dip your toes into the vintage waters. The small items don’t require a truck rental to lug them home.

We want to hear from you! Been to the show and have some tips to add to this list? Sound off in the comments to share your stories!