Last month, while traveling throughout New York and Massachusetts, setting up my son for his sophomore year at Bard, visiting with Cynthia Wick, and shopping up a storm on New York's infamous Warren Street, I also experienced, for the first time, the mecca of all outdoor antique shows - the incomparable Brimfield fair. With over 5,000 vendors from all over the country in 21 different show venues (what Brimfield calls "fields," each of them 2-3 acres wide) and lasting six consecutive days, the Brimfield Fair happens three times a year (May, July, Sptember) and is legendary for obvious reasons. On their site, they offer up sound advice for buyers such as this: "If you see something that you can't live without, do not put it down as there may be someone standing behind you that is just waiting to grab it."
The openings of each "field" are staggered by dates and times of day; I've included a visual aid from their site, an "Arial" (sic) view of Brimfield's fields. There's truly an art form to finding access to some of the fields before they're open to the public. On my first shopping day, I gained entry to the desirable "Dealer's Choice" field by following a dealer's car onto the field itself and then telling the guard I was with them, but had decided to walk rather than drive. The next day I ventured into my favorite field, "The Heart of the Mart."
I was lucky enough to have the company of Adam Blackman of Blackman Cruz as my shopping guide and, at his instruction, I was up and out on the fields, in the dark, at 4:30 a.m., purchasing a pair of leather Borge Mogensen chairs and hoping they were as gorgeous in daylight as they seemed to be in those last sunless pre-dawn moments. (They were!) Sharing a truck back from the show with fellow Angelenos Greg Wooten from The Window (previously Boo Radley's), Josh from Rewire, and designer Mary Luby, I commented that if we were hijacked, someone would have a fabulous collection to open an eclectic store.
Througout the ensuing days, I met dealers from Rhode Island, Maine, Atlanta, GA, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania and enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches, lobster rolls, breakfast burritos, and lemonade from the countless food stands. Also, my great friend and Brimfield veteran Annie Pressman showed up and did a spot of shopping with me!
Between shopping and scouring for three days straight and enjoying my "off" time with Gretchen Rennel and John Court at the Sturbridge Hotel (where its illuminated pools were so chlorinated you felt the oxygen being sucked from the atmosphere just standing near them), the trip was a fantastic success. Below are some of the highlights! You'll have to stop into rumba to see which pieces made the trek from East to West.