Traveling has always been one of my passions. The world is full of fascinating places and cultures and I hope to see as much of it as I can.
We finally made it! After years of thinking about attending the Brimfield Antique and Collectibles Show, we finally managed to make our way to the rural community of Brimfield, located in central Massachusetts. If you live here in New England and have an interest in antiques and collectibles, then you have certainly heard of the Brimfield show. It is touted as the largest show of its kind in the country, and I have no reason to doubt this claim.
Located right on route 20, which is the main road through Brimfield, the Antique Show stretches for about a mile and goes up to 500 feet deep on both sides of the road. It encompasses 23 fields and quite literally goes on for as far as the eye can see. This means that there are thousands of dealers showing their wares and you can find pretty much anything you are interested in if you look hard enough. The show attracts the most serious of collectors from all over the world as well as the casual collector simply interested in looking around for an afternoon. It all adds up to a carnival like atmosphere that draws thousands of visitors to Brimfield each year.
The really unique thing about the Brimfield Antique Show is that it is held three times each year. Every May, July, and September the show runs for six days, from Tuesday to Sunday.
The 2023 show is scheduled for May 9-14, July 11-16, and September 5-10.
There are no set hours for the Brimfield show, and each dealer will open when they are good and ready. Many open at daybreak and you can expect to find most dealers up and open for business by 6 to 7 am. The same goes with closing, and the generally accepted closing time is dusk, but some operators will start shutting down earlier than this especially on Sunday, which is the last day of the event.
Brimfield is located in central Massachusetts just to the south of the Massachusetts Turnpike, which runs east-west from Boston all the way to Springfield and on to the border with New York.
If you are coming from the west you will want to take exit 8 off of the Turnpike (Palmer exit) and take a right onto route 32 south after going through the toll booth. Follow route 32 for about .70 miles until you come to your first traffic light and turn left onto route 20 west. Follow route 20 for about seven miles until you come to the show, you can’t miss it.
If you are coming from the east you will take exit 9 (Sturbridge) off of the Massachusetts Turnpike onto I-84 (Hartford/NY). After you go through the toll booth you will want to look for signs which should direct you to a right hand exit (3B) onto route 20 heading west. Follow route 20 west for about 6.5 miles until you come to the show.
If you are flying into the area you have some options. The closest major airport is Bradley International located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut (47 miles). The greater Boston area is served by Logan International (68 miles) and you can always fly into Providence's TF Green Airport (70 miles) in Rhode Island. Also, JetBlue has recently added service to the Worcester Regional Airport, which is only 28 miles from Brimfield.
Brimfield Is Located in Central Massachusetts
There is plenty of parking at the show and the cost will range from $3 to $10. We paid $5 and most of the parking lots we saw were charging $5. Expect to find plenty of lots on both sides of route 20 and do not try to park on the main road as it is prohibited and will result in a costly tow by the local police.
Are There Bathrooms and Food Options?
We found plenty of portable facilities available at the show and every field, all 23 of them, are required to provide sanitary facilities.
There were also plenty of places to grab a quick bite to eat or a drink without having to leave the show. The New England Motel is actually situated smack dab in the middle of the show on route 20 and offers a pretty good selection of options in the food court that they set up.
If you're looking for restaurants in the area try one of these options located right in Brimfield and nearby Palmer.
- Francesco's Italian Restaurant, 45 Palmer Rd, Brimfield, MA
- Hooyas Restaurant, 13 Main St, Brimfield, MA
- Apple Barn Cafe, 52 Palmer Rd, Brimfield, MA
- Athens Pizza, 26 Sturbridge Rd, Brimfield, MA
- Brimfield House of Pizza, 17 Main St, Brimfield, MA
- Steaming Tender, 28 Depot St, Palmer, MA
Where To Stay?
If you are coming to the Brimfield Antique Show from out of the area and are looking for accommodations your best bet might be to look in Sturbridge, which is located just six miles to the east of Brimfield.
If you want to stay right in Brimfield there are a couple of motel options available.
- White Coach Motel - Rte. 20, Brimfield (413) 245-9021
- New England Motel - Palmer Rd., Brimfield (413) 245-3348
Books and Magazines Galore
Not knowing exactly what to expect on our first visit to the Brimfield Antique Show we went with an open mind planning to just browse around to see if we could find anything interesting and any “good deals”. While we certainly saw a lot of interesting stuff we did not come across any must have deals. Even if you are not looking to buy, however, the show makes for an interesting way to spend a summer day.
With so much stuff available here you really need to know your antiques and collectibles to avoid paying too much. The old saying that “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” certainly applies and personally I found it difficult to know what the fair value should be on most of what I saw. I will say that my overall impression was that “old” things can be pretty darn expensive. But again, I have no way of putting a value on something that might be considered a “collectible.“ And this brings up the question, how does one know what is a “collectible” and what is just "old stuff?”
Lots of Furniture
No matter the answer to any of these questions the Brimfield Antique and Collectibles Show is certainly the largest event of its kind that I have ever seen and some of the statistics from the event are impressive. It makes for a pretty fun and interesting day, especially when you spot something from your heyday. Consider these facts and figures on the show.
- The Brimfield Antiques Show started in 1959.
- The show draws thousands of dealers from all over the world (approximately 20,000 at the May, 2016 show).
- The show has drawn between 125,000 and 500,000 visitors over the course of the week depending on the weather.
- The population of Brimfield is just 3,610 residents.
- Usually the May and September shows draw more visitors than the July show due to the heat of the summer.
- Brimfield is considered to be the world’s largest outdoor antique show.
- There are 23 different fields that make up the exhibit area, which stretches for about a mile along both sides of route 20.
Hope you enjoyed this visit to the Brimfield Antiques and Collectibles show.
© 2014 Bill De Giulio