Sunday, May 19, 2013

Brimfield Weekend

We took the Mass Pike past Sturbridge to Brimfield yesterday, for the thrice-annual outdoor Antiques Show. We are always glad to hit traffic at the town line because then we're sure it's really happening — over the years, we've shown up twice on the wrong weekend (thanks to misinformed friends). Brimfield claims to have the largest antiques show in the country, spread out for more than half a mile on grassy fields on both sides of Route 20, a two-lane country road. There are a few barns and covered areas, but most of the thousands of dealers operate from plastic tents and open booths in fields with picturesque names: Quaker Acres, Crystal Brook, Heart 'o the Mart. It's much more enjoyable on a nice spring day than during a monsoon or heat wave. But I've been there in all kinds of weather.

This is pretty much how it looks from the road; each field is very deep, however, so there's much, much more than meets the eye.

We both feel the show's quality has deteriorated over the years. You can still find spectacular antique furniture, vintage clothing, silver, art pottery, and jewelry, but the vast majority of the merchandise is more of the rusty-junk-from-some-garage and the not-very-stately-estate variety. There's a lot more plastic from the '60s and '70s than there used to be. There are still whole tents filled with pink and green Depression Glass, old silver plate, and vintage sewing notions and buttons arranged by color. There are also dealers who sell homemade wares, such as these assemblages:


There's also a lot of rusty crap that makes you wonder:

WHO buys this stuff?

My husband heads for the postcard barn because he collects a specific type of antique foreign postcard. I roam around, looking for whatever might be beautiful or surreal. In his absence, I cover lots of ground quickly, fueled by a large apple fritter from The Apple Barn CafĂ©. (Unwholesome food is an important aspect of the Brimfield experience. I saw whoopie pies the size of salad plates and eclairs the size of sub sandwiches, along with everything from fried clams to pierogies.) 

To my great annoyance, my camera is back in the shop. I used my iPhone to shoot the more intriguing vignettes I spotted:

Nun and kangaroos with Aunt Jemima cookie jar in background. Aunt Jemima was a recurring motif this year. Other years, it's been items made from deer paws, or 1960's ceramic Christmas trees.

Pathetic. But I didn't buy it.

I spotted a similar basket-casket last year. Don't know if this is the same one.

Do those mannequins ever sit down?

An elephant and a baby pig among the crap piled in this truck bed.

Elves, buddhas, and dragons, just hanging out.

This lifesize (?) space alien never sells. 

Notice how the guy in plaid is in a kind of sidecar.

I didn't buy this, either. I'll post about what I bought tomorrow.

The next shows are July 9–14 and September 3–8.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy Brimfield also. I have been traveling from Florida for many years to attend staying I the best, the old Inn to the worst the Econo Lodge depending on finances at the time. Enjoy the vibe, energy, food and people. It is not as good quality as it was 7-8 years ago, but usually I can find something I collect. May is best but must do Sept. this year. Have also enjoyed Paris (and outskirts) antique markets as well as Portobello Rd, London and Newark, UK for even more great finds.

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