Trouble brewing in Brimfield

Here is a developing story out of Brimfield. Mass. Brimfield is home of the famous Brimfield Antiques Shows, a collection of more than 20 shows held three times a year May, July and September. May’s installment is universally seen as ground zero for the antiques trade and the kickoff to the outdoor antiques show season nationwide.

It seems the town of Brimfield wants show promoters to pay up to five years of back taxes on “emergency services” at the event. Naturally, promoters are not taking this request lightly and have rightly filed a lawsuit fighting the levy.

The amount in question is a sizable $144,501.55. Brimfield promoters submitted 5,617 vendor permits in 2008 which generated $168,510 in fees. This left the city with a surplus of more than $22,000 – but the town is looking for more.

As every antqiues show promoter faces an increasingly challenging  environment,  it’s a no brainer to say this is the wrong year to try to tap
these businesses. Dealers from the Midwast and West are already stressed by the
economy. If the landowners are forced to pass another fee increase on to Brimfield dealers they
might think twice about the trip. The towns of Brimfield and Sturbridge both
gain so much in economic impact of the dealers and attendees that there should
be another solution to cover these costs.

-Eric Bradley, Atlantique City Show Promoter

Antique Shows, Blog
Karen Knapstein

About Karen Knapstein

Karen Knapstein is the editor of Antique Trader magazine. A lifelong collector and student of antiques, she has written dozens of articles on vintage collectibles and their historical context. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Joseph, and daughter, Faye. She can be reached at