Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Brimfield Week!

Earlier, I'd written how much I like rain. Okay, so MOST of the time I really like rain. But I've just arrived in Maine, and it's raining and is supposed to rain for the next four days. No - no - NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I want beautiful weather and fair skies and sun and warm temperatures so I can enjoy my first week here!

Oh well, there'll be good weather to come - hopefully all summer long - as I spend the next four months here. And Spring is about 2 weeks ahead of usual here in Maine - the tulips are done, the magnolia trees are shedding their pretty pink blossoms, and the antiques traffic is just starting to pick up.

This is Brimfield Week, and often after Brimfield is over, many dealers and collectors head to Maine. It's only a three hour drive away, so it's a worthwhile trip. After the hectic craziness of all the Brimfield antiques shows, shopping in Maine is a breath of fresh air. Besides - this is the time of year for cheap lobster!!

If you aren't familiar with the many antiques shows held in Brimfield, Massachusetts three times a year, I'll give you a quick synopsis. Brimfield is a very small town an hour west of Boston, and in May, July and September of each year, the town hosts a couple thousand antiques dealers for a week of selling and buying. It's a huge series of shows which attracts many thousands of buyers from all over the world. Nearly every kind of antique, collectible and reproduction is available somewhere at one of the Brimfield shows.

Often, buyers shop their favorite shows, and then head further north into New England for more shopping. The antiques shops throughout all the New England states enjoy a nice shopping rush for a few days before Brimfield and immediately after Brimfield. Many New England antiques shop owners also go down to Brimfield to re-stock their shops. Some of them just shop a few of the shows, while others try to get to all the shows. Some shop owners go to Brimfield just to sell.

Brimfield is an experience unlike any other. Nearly all the selling is done out of doors, either in open fields, or under tents. It's a series of about 20 shows, all run by individual show promoters. Buyers rush from one show to the next, trying to be there as the gates open so they can have first crack at the antiques being offered.

One must be careful - Brimfield is full of fakes and reproductions. There is little vetting of antiques for quality. Many sellers are quite honest about what they are selling, and will gladly tell you that you are buying something new. But occasionally, a seller will not mention the origin or age of something you may be buying. It's definitely a Buyer Beware situation.

I'll talk in more detail about Brimfield at a later date. But it's a fascinating place to go antiques hunting - a zillion choices, and then there's always Maine!

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