The World Series of Flea Markets
Three times a year, the 120-acre location of America’s largest and most famous antiques market teems with more than 6,000 dealers and some 130,000 visitors who come to forage through history’s marketplace.
This is serious business for major-league swappers and shoppers, who are on a mission to pitch or buy that perfect pre-Revolutionary silver tureen or brass postal scale. Twenty-three separate fields along Route 20 resemble a colorful Bedouin camp, brimming with tented dealers who come from all over America, bringing only their choicest pieces to this show. Major designers, decorators, and store owners come with empty U-Hauls at the ready, prepared for war.
Brimfield is not for wimps. The show’s first days are for serious hunters and gatherers, and at 4:30 A.M. on opening day (Tuesday), the wheeling and dealing is furious and fevered. Saturday and Sunday are strictly for casual hobbyists who have no idea what they’ve missed, content to pick through any remaining unwantables, seeking the odd treasure among the trinkets. They’ll usually buy something – anything – rather than go home empty-handed.
The good news? Most dealers don’t want to take merchandise back home, and will consider best-offer requests. Oh, and an insider’s tip: It almost always rains during the May show, and snow is not unheard of.