Countdown to Brimfield!

The Brimfield Antique Show opens on May 10th – 2 weeks away!  I know I’m a freak, when I start to get excited this early about Brimfield!  I’m already trying to figure out babysitting details and school pick-up (for my older one) – and seriously get stressed over the planning.  When I had only my son, I put him in a baby backpack and carried him around the fields one year.  Another year, I brought him and maneuvered through the aisles with a jogger stroller (those who have been, understand that a conventional stroller will NOT do on the grass and dirt fields).  Then there was a 3-year hiatus (the triplets).  Last year, I had a babysitter come for the entire day 8am-7pm, which I thought would give me breathing room and time to hit every field (mind you, at a fast, don’t-talk-to-me pace) but actually proved to be more stressful, trying to rush home, fight the traffic and then having my iPhone battery die on Route 20 in Sturbridge, with no phone charger on hand and no way to contact my sitter.  Serious PANIC!  This year, my girls will be 4-years old.  Last year there was NO chance of bringing them (one was potty-trained, the other two weren’t).  No way was I going to bring a triple stroller (logistically, would just not fit down some of those aisles, never mind the main road).  But after last year’s fiasco, I am considering (rather than heeding my friends’ advice) bringing them in an all-terrain Radio Flyer wagon.

Last year I was prepared – I had my list, an empty truck, moving blankets and cash.  But because of my time constraints, I ended up leaving without a thing!  There is an ABSOLUTE science to navigating through Brimfield.  Each year, I come up with a different strategy, but have found that there are experts!  Expert “finders” (stay tuned for a feature post on one such finder) who can “do Brimfield” far more skillfully than I, or the average shopper and visitor.  In past years, I’ve orchestrated “tag teams” with other friends/designers, where we start on opposite ends and run like mice through a maze searching for our list of items.  This year, I’m going in with no expectations.  I have a short list of items to search for clients and basically the same list I had for myself as last year.  Last year I focused on one thing, a round mirror.  I thought it would be so easy, to seek each item on my list.  But, again, as prepared as I was, I didn’t find “the one,” and because I spent so much time honing in on the mirror, I never had time to search for my other items.

Here are some photos from last year’s hunt!

I was in love with everything in this booth.  I know I have the vendor’s card stashed away somewhere, but I’ll do better this year and pass along the resource.

 My mirror hunt last year was pre-Ei3s blog, but just now I noticed the driftwood in threes.

 This photo was sent to me via a member of my “tag team.”

If you plan to attend the show, I have 3 tips:

1.  Print out a Show/Dealer map (here) – and plan parking accordingly – some of the fields require an admission fee and some include parking.  Keep in mind if you plan to purchase a large item, you’ll need to pick it up at the end of the day (or whenever you’re finished) – or if you have to put some bulky items in your car mid-way through, you’ll need to strategize where you park ahead of time, so that you don’t spend all of your time walking back to your car.  Bring a wagon, big totes, or a cart to carry your purchases.

2.  As you are browsing, if you find something you love – make the decision that moment to purchase.  Usually at the beginning of the day, I find something right off the bat.   I think, oh, maybe I’ll find something better, or can I get a better price on another field? or, let me think about it, I’ll come back.  I’ve tried to double-back, but either 1) run out of time or 2) can’t remember where I found the item!  So, if you do hesitate, write down the field and location, along with some landmarks, so that you can find your way back.

3)  Bring cash, checks and water!  Check the weather and dress appropriately.  This is not a fashion show!  I’ve been there in pouring rain.  I’ve ruined perfectly comfortable flats.  I’ve gotten sunburned.  Oh!  and don’t wait ’til noon to eat lunch!  You’ll find long lines and waste at least 1/2 hour trying to buy a burger.  Bring snacks or eat on either side of the lunch rush.

For more general information about the show, go here.  If you can’t attend this time around, not to worry.  The Brimfield Antique Shows run 3 times a year:  May, July and September (dates here).

Next week I’ll spotlight a vendor and a veteran “finder.”  Stay tuned.

photos (1,2) by ei3s and (3) by Water & Main

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