Flea Market Tips & Essentials

Flea Market Tips & Essentials

Nestled in the heart of Massachusetts, the Brimfield Antique Show, commonly known as the Brimfield Fair, has long been a mecca for antique enthusiasts and collectors from around the globe. Established in 1959 by auctioneer Gordon Reid, who saw an opportunity to create a gathering space for sellers across the nation.

Brimfield has since grown into the largest outdoor antique show in the world. Spanning over a mile along Route 20 and hosting up to 5,000 dealers across its 21 fields, the fair operates three times a year, attracting tens of thousands of visitors. Brimfield is not just a market; it's a vibrant festival of history, heritage, and discovery, offering unique finds ranging from quaint household items to priceless artifacts. 

5 Tips for Flea Market Success

Here are five quick and actionable tips for anyone heading to the Brimfield Fair, or any large flea market:

Plan Your Visit: Before you go, check the Brimfield website for dates and maps of the field locations. Planning which sections you want to visit can save you a lot of time and help you focus on your areas of interest. For Brimfield specifically, it's important to understand that the fair is comprised of multiple separate "fields".

Arrive Early: This will help you beat the crowds and get a central parking spot. This makes it easy to quickly drop off your purchases and also refill your water. It's also nice to get a lay of the land before it really gets packed. 

Stay Local: Consider booking accommodation nearby if you plan to shop for more than one day. Local inns and B&Bs can fill up quickly during the fair, so reserve your spot early.

Keep Cash Handy: While many dealers now accept credit cards thanks to mobile payment solutions, some still prefer or only accept cash. Having cash can also expedite smaller transactions.

Follow Your Intuition: This one might be a little woo-woo for some people, but if you feel drawn in a certain direction or into a certain booth, GO! There's an overwhelming amount of items, you're never going to see it all, and despite the best research, sometimes you just need to trust your gut. 

Bonus Tip - Making Deals: If you see a piece you love, wait until the end of the day to make a deal. THIS IS RISKY of course, because the piece might not last until the end of the day. However if you're willing to risk it, you will be rewarded with sellers who are more willing to negotiate steeper discounts. 

    In addition to these tips, there are some essential items that will make your flea market experience much more enjoyable. Here’s my ultimate flea market survival kit.

    Flea Market Survival Kit

    Clothing & Comfort
    • Wear comfortable clothing suitable for the weather and lots of walking. Comfortable weatherproof boots are an essential. Brimfield is rain or shine, and hosted on dirt lots, be prepared for some mud. Layering is smart especially if you start early in the day and will need to shed layers as it warms up. 
    Sun Protection & Hydration
    • A lightweight sunhat and zinc sunscreen will keep you comfortable and protected all day long. My hydration hack is to keep a gallon of water in an insulated bottle at the car, and fill up my smaller bottle throughout the day. 
    Carry and Convenience
    • Convertible tote backpacks are a lifesaver because no matter what style of bag you get you'll want to switch up how you carry it throughout the day. If you plan to pick up a lot of biger pieces, I recommend a collapsible wagon too. 
    • Bring a tape measure if you plan on picking up any furniture. This way you can not only make sure it will fit in your home but also in your car. Lastly, can't hurt to carry some nice smelling hand sanitizer with you. 

    You can shop the full Survival Kit Here

    Whether you're a seasoned collector or a curious newcomer, Brimfield offers a rare glimpse into the past through its vast assortment of treasures. Each visit promises new discoveries and the chance to meet fellow enthusiasts who share a passion for history and craftsmanship. So, pack your sense of adventure, wear your most comfortable shoes, and prepare to be captivated by the charm and chaos of America’s favorite flea market. Happy hunting at Brimfield!

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