Brimfield Antique Show. It’s the triannual massive fancy-flea market that swells the Brimfield, MA area to something like three-times its general population. In brief, the Brimfield Antique Market was to the blog-world last season what the Jazz Age Lawn Festival was this season- something that seems unnecessarily fetishized by folks who are more interested with style than content. Also, really, really overwhelming.
Luckily, I survived, dear reader! With the encouragement of my friend who was going to be selling there for the entire week, I decided to round up my friend Jess for the hour drive into the heart of darkness. Neither Jess nor I are early birds so we arrived there at noon knowing that we were staring down something like eight football fields of sheer possibility! Plus one other whole, huge field of vendors that were open for just the Friday/Saturday weekend! To quote American comic heroine Cathy, “Ack!” I never even found my friend’s booth.
We knew that it would be impossible to see everything, even as an overview, but we did know that, whatever happened, there would be fried dough waiting for us at the end. After a few hours of browsing, both of us were kind of dismayed that we hadn’t found anything purchase-worthy. Granted, prices sided more with the “antique” than with the “flea market” part of the event. I was really bummed that I couldn’t find anyone selling eye glass frames, as that was the one thing I was really ready to drop a little dough on. Sadly, I didn’t even find any that were nice enough (or large enough in the case of the kids’ glasses I had found) to even try on. By about 5pm, we has seen less than half of the market grounds and decided to head back to Rhode Island. Jess left with a cow skull and an accordion (typical!) I picked up two medals and a tool chest (also typical).
The medal on the left was $5 and I bought it mostly because I liked the settings that the ribbon hangs from so much. The medal on the right came from an older couple who collected ephemera and more “junk” stuff. They reeled me in with some nice conversation, including complimenting my tattoos (actually, pretty much every old folk vendor loved my Great Pumpkin tattoo), until I crumpled and bought something. So this medal cost me $12 and at least 20 minutes of conversation, but it does play right into my skewed feelings of patriotism. There were awards and medals in abundance but I’ve never seen anything like it before.
I also found that, when it came to divining which booths would contain the bestest treasures, I always gravitated towards the ones that sold a lot of “Dad Stuff”. You know, old tools and magazines and military stuff but also some toys and oddities. Models of boats and technical drawing equipment. Like a garage. Dropped into a field. With a tent over it.
This old Craftsman tool chest cost me $25, less than buying a new one, and required only a little cleaning up on my part.
I left the old labeling system in place and added in some of my own. I align myself with its original, passive-aggressive policy, anyway.
It looks real handsome on my workbench, too.
The thing that I got the most out of, because I hesitate to use the term “liked the best” since there is nothing at all likable about it, was traveling through the area of town where a serious tornado had touched down earlier in the summer.
I know it’s probably a little difficult to articulate with photos from the internet, but at first I wasn’t quite what I was seeing as we drove through this part of town. Tornadoes are rare in this part of the country so identifying their damage is something I’ve had no experience with. At first, it seemed like we were in an area where there was a forest fire, except nothing was burned or charred. Everything was broken or just bent in the same direction in certain areas-like it had been stomped by a giant foot. Then, there would be a swath of trees, green and untouched, only a few feet away.
It was grave and unsettling but also breathtaking. The extent of the damage was obviously great so if you are interested in seeing more photos and finding out how you can donate to the town’s relief fund, there is lots of information on the antique show’s webpage.