A practical guide to Brimfield

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BRIMFIELD, Mass. – Brimfield operates three times a year, during May, July and September, and is open for a six-day period beginning on a Tuesday and ending on a Sunday, this time May 13 and 18.

Look at the show schedule for opening times. Closing time is officially at sunset, however many dealers close between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., based on weather conditions.

There is a world-class vintage textile show on the Monday before Brimfield. It is located at the Sturbridge Host Hotel. For more information, go online to www.vintagefashionandtextileshow.com.

Some of the shows charge admission. The fees are typically $5. You can purchase admission tickets at some of the fields on the days and mornings prior to their opening.

The Country Bank in Brimfield has an ATM machine located near the town common. There is an ATM station set up at the New England Motel Food Court, as well. Dealers prefer cash and will accept checks. The higher-end dealers may accept a charge card.

Off-street parking is available and prices range from $3 to $10, depending on how close you park. Parking is prohibited on the roadside and tow trucks do patrol the area, so park with caution.
The field owners provide wide enough aisles and entrances for wheelchairs and scooters; however, the individual dealers may have tents that are too crowded to maneuver in as they try to bring as much merchandise as possible to the show. You will be able to view the majority of the items from the aisle.

There are food vendors located on all of the fields with a wonderful variety of food items. There are also a few local restaurants in town where you can sit and enjoy dining. New England Motel has the largest food court area. The french fries are great, though the court is packed after 11:30 a.m.
There are portable restrooms set up on the fields.

The weather in New England is very unpredictable. The shows run rain or shine, so come prepared. Wear good walking shoes and bring, just in case, boots for rain. Wear layered clothing so you can add or take off depending on how cool or warm the weather. A good sun hat and some sunscreen is suggested, especially for July.

Please reconsider before bringing a pet to the show. Many operators prohibit pets on the fields and will not park a car with a pet.


HELPFUL HINTS

Arrive early to be sure you find parking. Fields will fill up fast! When choosing a parking location, bear in mind how often you plan to bring items back to your car.

Bring a tote, backpack or other equipment to carry your purchases. Wagons or carts are often used for hauling. The terrain is rugged and items are awkward to carry if you are still shopping.

Cash is the preferred method of payment and will often get you the best price for an item.

If you see something that you can’t live without, do not put it down as there may be someone standing behind you that is just waiting to grab it. You can pay for an item and pick it up on your way back to the car. Make sure you know where your dealer is located and when they are closing up the booth.

If you are a serious collector of specific items, consider wearing a t-shirt that states what you are looking for or at least have cards to hand out with your name, phone, and items wanted.

If you plan to return to a particular dealer, be sure to note the name of the show venue/field and the booth number. Show operators maintain lists of dealers, and only they can distribute dealer information.

Take time to rest and replenish fluids. A drink of water can be hard to find, so bring some with you.
Brush up on your negotiation skills. Most dealers expect you to bargain. If you feel uncomfortable about this, just ask, “What’s your best price on this?”

Looking for something in particular? Ask a dealer who carries similar items. Chances are they’ll have great recommendations, or even have what you’re looking for still packed in a box at their booth.


Answers to Brimfield FAQs:

Brimfield is considered the largest outdoor antique show in the country. There are approximately 5,000 dealers in 21 different show venues (often referred to as fields). The show geographically covers one mile on each side of Route 20.

There are 21 different show venues that make up the “Brimfield Show.” Eighteen of the 21 shows open on Tuesday, with the remainder opening throughout the week. Opening times vary as well. Check online for specific information.

Most of the dealers are closing up around 5 p.m., as they’ve been up since 4 a.m. Weather permitting, you can shop as you make your way to your car until sunset.

There are on-site shippers to transport your purchases. A UPS/Fed Ex dealer is located in the Brimfield Acres North. L. Drew Gerald is at May’s parking lot.

You should book lodging 9-12 months in advance. For lost and found, contact the Brimfield Police Station at 413-245-3442.

Hartford, Conn., is the closest airport (Bradley International). It is approximately 35 miles away. Car rental is in order.

For more details, go to www.brimfield.com.

Image and information courtesy of Yankee Cricket B&B, www.yankeecricket.com.

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