Last week I was sitting down at my computer to do some last minute planning for my vintage treasure hunting trip to Brimfield and I realized there aren’t many resources online for folks that haven’t been before and want to know what to expect. I remember the first time I went and I had no idea where to park, where to shop, or what it would be like. So I thought I would share a few of my tips for future Brimfield attendees, as well as some photos from my antiquing at the July show!
Q: Starting with the basics… When and Where?
A: Brimfield happens 3x a year, in May, July, and September. I’ve been a few times, and if you’re deciding which one to go to, I recommend the September show. May can still be chilly, or very very wet and muddy (our car got stuck one year and my super-hero best friend had to push it out of the mud!). July, like this past weekend, can be crazy sticky and hot (more on that later!). Each field opens at different times, so check the map before you go and plan accordingly. You want to start early as the tents are opening to see the best stuff and get good parking.
Q: Speaking of parking, where I park at Brimfield?
A: I’ve had great luck parking behind Hertan’s field, and it costs about $10. I like this area for a few reasons: it has some nice shady spots and trees so your car will stay cool (well, cool-ish on a 95 degree July day). It’s also very close to the field at the New England Motel that has all of the food options for lunch. Snacking benefits aside, if you end up buying a bunch of larger pieces you don’t want to carry around all day, it’s an easy place to pop back to and drop things off in the car when you’re on your way to get some food halfway through the day.
Q: Sounds like a long day, what should I pack for my Brimfield adventure?
A: First — check the weather! If it looks like there may be some rain in the forecast, bring your wellies. The whole thing is set up in fields so it can get very muddy. If the weather looks dry, definitely throw on your sneakers or other comfortable shoes you don’t mind getting scuffed up. Sun protection is a good idea, I always bring a hat and some sunscreen, since you won’t find much shade outside of ducking in and out of tents. I also bring a large boat tote for my purchases, and a few smaller bags in case I run out of space (baggus are great!). Water and snacks are key since it’s a long day, but be realistic, you’re stopping at the fried dough cart after a long day of antiquing, you deserve it. I also throw my external phone charger in my bag so I can snap pics all day, a tape measure to ensure things will fit in my car, and lots of cash in a variety of bill sizes so it’s easier to make a deal! The last thing to remember is to bring some tie-downs or bungee cords if you’re purchasing bigger items that might need securing for the ride home.
Q: Open fields, warm weather, and little shade: how do I stay cool at Brimfield?
A: Even in May or September, it can be pretty toasty walking around in the Brimfield fields without much shade. When we went last week for the July show it was a scorching hot day and we were doing everything we could to keep cool. We made sure to park in the shady areas behind Hertan’s field, and actually saw some people having a picnic near their cars in the afternoon because of the shade. There are also umbrella covered seating areas near the large food truck section — make sure to get there on the earlier side for lunch to snag one. Another good way to get some shade and stay cool is to shop some of the vendors in the permanent barns on the main stretch of road. Prices will be a bit more expensive in these barns, but it’s worth a quick browse to escape the sun. And my number one tip is to stop into Collins’ Apple Barn for a brief respite of air conditioning and a soft serve ice cream cone — it does the trick!
Q: It’s my first time attending Brimfield and I don’t know what to expect. What else do I need to know about Brimfield?
A: Brimfield is huge! You probably won’t be able to see everything if you’re only going for one day, so just know that going into it. I stick to the more approachable fields when I go because I’m not a serious antique-hunter, I’m in it for the vintage “junk” — but some of the fields actually require admission for more high-end dealer access. Another trick I’ve learned is that the rear fields have the best deals. Dealers pay a premium to be closer to the road, so their prices tend to be a bit higher. Farther back off the road are less expensive dealer plots, so they often have lower prices. And if you have the option, try to visit on a weekday. People travel from all over the country for the event and the fields can get much busier on weekend days, you’ll have more room to treasure hunt on a Thursday or Friday.
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