We traveled to the Brimfield Antique Flea Market located in Brimfield, Massachusetts for the mid summer show. It was a vintage enthusiasts dream filled with fields upon fields of treasures. There are three shows each year. One in May, July and September, starting on a Tuesday and finishing on Sunday.
With 17 different fields to explore, each has its own eclectic mix. Certain fields are more heavily populated in specific styles than others. We found that The Meadows had a strong midcentury boho vibe. Quaker Acres was vintage farmhouse meets industrial. There was antique pottery and many modern farmhouse finds at the New England Motel. It was fun to see so many unique dealers and shops all in one place.
Here is what we learned from shopping Brimfield for the first time.
1. Not all fields are open each day. Check out the Brimfield website before you go. It lists all of the fields, their location, and which days they are open. Some fields charge a $5 entry on opening day.
2. Get there early. A majority of the fields open at 6 a.m. We were there by 7:30 a.m. both days and it gets much more crowded toward the afternoon.
If you’re there early like we were, you might even get the chance to see HGTV stars. Courtney Novogratz, of Home by Novogratz, was filming. And yes, Christian and I totally pretended to shop in the background. We were secretly trying to listen in and learn all about her cool finds.
3. Don’t Park in the First Lot You See. The lots are scattered all along Main Street. Drive past the first two or three lots before you park. You’ll be closer to the midway point for easy drop offs during the day. There will be parking attendants directing you into their lot. It’s okay to pass by them and go onto the next one. Lots charge between $5 and $10 per day.
4. Dress Accordingly & Bring a Big Shoulder Bag. I know this seems like the obvious, but it is really important. Bringing the right clothes saved us from a morning of waiting out the rain. It poured on opening day, luckily we had our rain boots and ponchos. We stayed dry and could slosh through all the muddy puddles, no problem.
A big shoulder bag is great for carrying your smaller finds. Wear layers and your best walking shoes. I’m a sneaker gal and a good pair is a must. We walked 12,000 steps day one and 16,000 on day two. Don’t forget to sun block and put on some bug spray.
5. You Can Leave Large Finds with the Dealer for End of the Day Pick-Up. Don’t want to carry around your purchase? No problem. The dealers will let you leave your purchase with them until the end of the day. You are allowed to drive your car down the field aisles for pick ups. Make sure to write down the dealer’s name and location or snap a photo of the booth. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to forget when you have lots of items to keep track of.
6. Plan a Stop Back to Your Car Mid Day. If you park near the center of everything it’s easy to make a pit stop at your car to drop off any smaller finds you might be lugging around. It also gave us a chance to cool off in the air conditioning and change out of our rain gear.
7. Staying Overnight? Homeaway or Airbnb is the way to go. As you can imagine hotels around Brimfield fill up fast and charge a hefty price for show week. We rented a house through Homeaway in a town next to Brimfield. There may have only been a one convenient store for 15 miles but we were only a 10 minute drive from Brimfield.
8. Most dealers only take cash or check. Some of the larger dealers were set-up for credit card purchases but not many. With a credit card purchase also come taxes and fees. You can make a better deal if you pay in cash. The dealers expect you to talk prices with them. Many of the dealers, if they see your interest in an item, will tell you their bottom price right off the bat. If you buy more then one item from a dealer you might be able to get a bundle deal.
9. Food Vendors and a Place to Rest. Dining tables and most of the food vendors are located near New England Motel. They have food stands with New England classics (lobster rolls & clam chowder) and food trucks of every kind. They even have a beer vendor. My favorite stop was Faddy’s Donuts. You have to try the walnut maple glazed. I could probably have eaten a dozen myself.
10. July is the slowest of the three shows at Brimfield. There is an upside and a downside to this. With the warmer weather there are less vendors, which is a hard to imagine with how much there was to see. The upside, it’s not nearly as crowded, you have a chance to spend some time talking with the dealers. Another positive, much less traffic.
11. You Can’t See it All. Trust me we tried. There is so much to see. In two days, around 7 hours each day, I’d say we saw half to three quarters of everything. That’s okay with me. It makes me that much more excited for the next trip.
I hope you enjoyed all the information about America’s oldest outdoor antique flea market. If you are planning on taking a trip to the next show, September 5th - 10th, or anytime in the future and have any questions about shopping Brimfield, I’d love to help. Just leave a note in the comments.