The Brimfield Antiques Fair, a Massachusetts staple of summer, is coming up this week, 11-16 July 2017.
This fair is definitely worth a visit for a day’s outing, an hour’s drive from Boston in central MA not too far off I-90, the Mass Turnpike. The fair attracts dealers from all over the east coast, bringing their goods to the outdoor market, with most booths under tents. While vintage items, antique furniture, and artisan handcrafted furniture are the main thrusts of the fair, there are lots of outdoor items (planters, furniture, garden sculptures), and what some might call “junk” but raw materials for aspiring artists and crafters.
My friend Deborah and I went to Brimfield last September, and I scored a whole box of antique clock parts for my teenage daughter who is into making Steampunk jewelry with gears, springs, and other metal mechanical parts. She was thrilled! And where else but Brimfield could you possibly ask “Do you have any old clocks that don’t have to work that I can take apart?” The dealer came up with the box of old clocks within 1 minute of our arriving at the booth, and within 5 minutes my score of $30 made the whole trip worthwhile. After loading the box in the car, it was a lovely morning of browsing and seeing the sights. Here are some of my photos from last year, where I bought an eclectic mix of clock parts and vintage bottles at the request of a client.
Gameplan: If you go, I suggest you have a definite shopping list of items you are looking for. The show is huge, and if you spend 3-4 hours there, you will likely walk 2+ miles, and see hundreds of vendors. Some find it overwhelming, but I find it good fun if I have 3 or 4 items that I am specifically looking for. Wear good walking shoes, bring water (it can get hot and as a temporary fair, the amenities are sparse), sunscreen, and a car/van to cart things home if you think you will buy some furniture. Truthfully, children under 10 are probably not going to be intrigued by anything at the show, and there are lots of breakables, so I wouldn’t bring small children. However…an empty baby carriage might not be such a bad idea to bring along in the car if you have to cart things back to the car…I suggest you bring cash for transactions, but some dealers take credit cards.
Logistics: The Brimfield fair always runs 3 times per year, in May, July, and September. There are lots of parking fields for a $5 all-day fee. Most booths are open at daybreak (yeah, that’s really early in summer in MA), and I myself like to go early in the morning. Set your GPS to 35 Palmer Rd, Brimfield MA and you can’t miss it.
Different fields are open on different days, and if you are a veteran of the fair, you may prefer to go when a certain vendor is there. But if you are a newbie, I suggest you choose a weekday if possible (naturally the Saturday at the end of the show is always packed), check the weather report, and consult their website: Brimfield Antique Flea Market
I’ll be going this week with a friend. I’m looking for a new bench for my revamped mudroom…going a bit lighter and a touch coastal in there for a fresh look…and I need a Windsor bench…wish me luck!
And if you can’t catch the July Brimfield fair, no worries, it will run again September 5 -10, 2017. Happy treasure hunting wherever you venture this summer.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.