BRIMFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Thousands of people from around the world are in the quaint town of Brimfield for its famous antique flea markets. 22News found out how the July season compares with others throughout the year. “It’s keeping the history alive of things that would end up in the trash.”
Behind each antique is a story, and at the Brimfield Flea Markets, there are thousands of them.
Alberta Brown first started collecting jewelry with her mother-in-law. “When she passed away, it was like she gave me a gift,” Brown said. Decades later, she’s learned how to date each piece she buys and hopes to sell.
“It’s 14-karat gold and it’s from the ‘50s and just before I came here I bought it from a lady named Betty,” Brown told 22News.
The unique items are the reason people travel from all over the world to what’s known as America’s Oldest Outdoor Antiques Market.
Ellen Racine-Weatherwax said she takes a day off from work three times a year and travels from Westfield to go to each of the flea market seasons. “I just found a late 1880s-90s chair for our dining room for $70. You can’t buy what there is now out on the market for $70 and the quality, it’s fabulous,” said Racine-Weatherwax.
Of the three seasons, July is the slowest. Vendors notice fewer sales as more people are on vacation and they say the hot weather is keeping more people inside.
Franz Kuchenbaur and his wife help their son sell antiques. He said there are different strategies to make the most money each season. Vendors bring in more items in May and September. However, it’s not all about the money: antiquing is a year-round passion for many. For the Kuchenbaurs, these are social events. “We meet a lot of our friends. We know all the dealers around and they come to see us,” Kuchenbaur said.
Whether they’re searching for something specific, like antique glass vases, or simply perusing, customers said they return each year to find the perfect old item that’s brand new to them.
The July flea markets are open through Sunday, July 13. They reopen in September.