By Tom Carrier
Brimfield, Mass., is your traditional small New England town of about 5,000, with picturesque churches, a main street that is no more than two stoplights long, and independent, warm folks happy to help when they can. This quaintness changes for one week each in the spring, summer and the fall. Then, Brimfield becomes the “Antiques Capital of the United States” when 5,000 antique dealers set up tents about a half mile on either side of Route 10, right in the center of the town. With lots to see, there is much to be found.
I visited Brimfield in the heat of summer 2008 and came away with a fascination with what fascinates others. For example, this one pair of gentleman walked away with something unique—a religious icon within an ornate carved frame along with an item that was, well, more utilitarian.
“I bought a religious frame, and being Polish, it was very interesting. It’s written in Polish, I don’t know what it means, but I’ll put it in the house as a religious icon,” he says. The second item was quite curious, though, his best buy of the day, he says. “This is a drawer for a wooden trunk. Well, I got a wooden trunk at home without a drawer.” And how much did he pay for it? “This came out of the rubbish. Somebody threw it away and we took it.” Ok, then, bargains really are everywhere. What else did we find?
How about a classic car? “We have a beautiful 1966 classic Mustang that we’re raffling off. The New Town Lions Club in New Town, Conn., does this every year, always a Mustang. The proceeds for this raffle are used for a variety of charities,” he says. Imagine getting a classic car for a ten spot.
As we walked along the main street of Brimfield, Scott, the cameraman and myself, came across a guy with vintage newspapers. “I’ve been collecting hurricane stuff for quite a number of years and I haven’t been able to find any newspapers,” he says happily. He is a school teacher who delights in teaching with authentic items, like newspapers.
And then we saw an alien. A see-through wire being waiting for a hot dog. I just had to ask. “I’ve been looking for one of these for four years and I finally found one at Brimfield,” said the alien’s handler. “It’s a metal dress form,” she says. Ah, of course. Now it makes sense. They are a family of artists that incorporates items like this in their sculptures. Somehow, I liked the alien idea better.
How about a good luck charm in the form of head board? “These are a couple of four hand-carved Chinese panels of oak. The gentleman who sold them told us explained that this is the plum blossom, and because they’re all connected together it suggests longevity and prosperity,” he says. They weren’t antiques necessarily, only from about the 1950’s. “When we come to Brimfield we kind of have a theme or certain ideas that we try to fulfill here and this is one of them,” he says.
I was so quite fascinated with the items, I failed to ask what they paid for them all. But it is guaranteed that you will something of value at Brimfield, especially if it’s free.
To watch a video of Tom Carriers’ tour through Brimfield, click here.
Tom Carrier is a general Worthologist, with an expertise in a wide variety of subjects.
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