Brimfield Flea Markets – A visitor’s guide
For more than 50 years now, antique dealers and collectors have traveled from throughout the United States and abroad to attend the world famous Brimfield Flea Markets. The popular events are held three times each year, in May, July and September for a six day period each time. Although it may appear to be one huge event, the Brimfield Flea Markets are actually comprised of about twenty individually owned and operated show fields.
The schedule of the Brimfield Flea Markets is fairly complicated and the opening days and times of many of the antique shows are staggered throughout the week. The seasoned shopper knows when to arrive just in time for the opening of each particular Brimfield Flea Market so they can quickly scan the hundreds of exhibitors’ booths and locate and purchase the merchandise that they are hunting for before their competitors beat them to it. There is a definite art to shopping the Brimfield Flea Markets!
The town of Brimfield, Massachusetts, home of the Brimfield Flea Markets is located in central Massachusetts just west of the intersection of Rte 84 and the Massachusetts turnpike ( Rte.90). Some say that the Brimfield Flea Markets are located at the crossroads of New England. State police estimate that over 50,000 people attend the Brimfield Flea Markets each week they are held. The exhibitors who set up booths number in the thousands with May and September being the strongest of the Brimfield Flea Markets.
The opening day of the Brimfield Flea Markets is always on a Tuesday. There are two one-day shows that open and close on that day plus many others that open and remain open all week until the official closing on Sunday. Usually people in the trade shop during the weekdays and retail customers arrive on the weekend. The dealers who set up at the Brimfield Flea Markets generally cater to other dealers and depend upon a large wholesale business. Years ago there were fewer large wholesale type markets and the Brimfield Flea Markets attracted more wholesale haulers who arrived with big semi-trucks and bought thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and often paid in cash. Those were the good ole days!
The Brimfield Flea Markets are full of excitement. There is an energy that is contagious! Most people who attend the Brimfield Flea Markets have been there before and visit their favorite dealers each time they return. Old friends are reunited. New friendships are cultivated. Deals are made. Sections of show fields become little familiar neighborhoods.
A seasoned shopper at the Brimfield Flea Markets is skilled at the art of negotiation. There is a fine line between acceptable negotiation and insulting a dealer with low ball price offer. Our best advice is to politely ask if the price is negotiable. It’s important to treat the dealers with respect. After all, they have to make a living. They have a larger overhead than you might expect. Between paying booth rent to have a space at the Brimfield Flea Markets and paying for a license to the town of Brimfield, paying for their travel expense, food, motel, etc. plus the cost of the merchandise in the first place, the price they ask for an item may seem higher than you’d like to pay but stop and think what the dealer has invested in it.
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