A word to the wise…the antique-wise, that is: Don’t go to the May Brimfield Antique and Collectible Show on a Friday, and most definitely do not be late arriving…unless of course you enjoy sitting in six miles of creeping-at-best traffic!

For the uninitiated, Brimfield is one of the largest antique shows in the nation, comprised of 23 fields housing thousands of antique dealers along a half mile stretch of Route 20 in Brimfield, Massachusetts.

Die-cut ice cream 1950sI dreamed of making a pilgrimage when I lived in Detroit—now that I live in Boston, each year I attend two of the three annual six-day shows held in May, July and September.

I usually go alone, but on this trip I had company! My dear friend Holly decided she was ready to experience the Joyful Overwhelm that is Brimfield. So, I had a pal to contemplate all the “Masshole” driving maneuvers we could execute to get around the traffic jam. None of which we attempted of course, thanks to our courteous Midwestern hearts. (Look for more on Masshole Driving Techniques in a future post.)

I was worried the lot I like to park in would be full, but after completing our sentence on Route 20, we were blessed with easy parking. The show has been a town event since the 1950’s, so they are nothing, if not well prepared!

Ruba Rombic
I was thrilled to finally see the rare Elegant Depression Glass pattern, Ruba Rombic, IN PERSON for the first time!

Having been to the show five or six times, I have my favorite fields to shop: Quaker Acres, Shelton’s, May’s Antiques and New England Motel. This is both good and bad. Good, because I know where to find things I like, and bad because I should probably branch out and see parts of the show I haven’t made it to yet. Yes, it’s that big!

aerial shotI also had a good hunch which vendors would steal Holly’s heart…and yes, I was right! Besties for seventeen years now (boy does time fly!), how could I not know she would gravitate toward chunky repurposed furniture, upcycled rustic décor and all things nautical?

HollyI managed to find a few things to sell in my space at Thoreauly Antiques in Concord, MA, and visit some of my colleagues from the shop who were selling at the market.

The big surprise this trip? Walking into the filming of an episode of HGTV’s Flea Market Flip! In case you aren’t familiar with it, Flea Market Flip challenges pairs of contestants to find materials at a flea market to repurpose and update, then sell for profit at another flea market.

Lara SpencerIt’s one of my favorite shows, I love to watch the creative process in action, but sometimes they destroy good old pieces and it breaks my heart!

Ironically, we were discussing on our way into the show that it seems totally unreasonable for the show’s contestants to have only one hour to uncover their finds.

So, in between takes I donned my Obnoxious Hat and annoyed a production assistant with “Do they really only get one hour?” He assured me they do. Huh.

As we continued on our way we spotted a cameraman setting up for a shot at a booth in advance of any contestants in the area.

So, based on my brief observation it would seem they are on a tight shooting schedule, therefore contestants are limited to a certain field to shop, and there is some advance scouting of items.

This makes sense; you could spend all six days of the show trying to see everything, and filming has to happen fast!

Our time was limited this day; we had to leave before I was ready—but any amount of time I can spend around old stuff is happy time for me!

Learn more about Brimfield over at my other blog, My History Fix!

Large Rabbit
You never know what you’ll find at Brimfield!

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