Brimfield Flea Market: 2024 dates & what to know

There are few things I love more than a day spent at Brimfield Flea Market, the southern Massachusetts mecca for all things antiquing, design, art, junking, thrifting, etc. The thrice-yearly market is packed so full of treasures that you really need more than a day, like a weekend (or longer) to properly unearth the best finds, but I haven’t been quite lucky enough yet to go for longer than a day trip myself (or maybe I’m super lucky because I live within driving distance?). Either way, I consider it an excuse to just keep going back every year.

If you’ve never been to Brimfield, it’s a must-see. It’s like no other flea market I’ve been to. Because it’s huge. The flea market (it’s markets, really, but we’ll get to that!) extends down a stretch of country road for more than a mile, and draws hundreds of vendors each show. You’ll want to wear your walking shoes, and bring snacks. Lots of snacks.

Because the Brimfield Flea Market is so big, it’s a good idea to create a plan before you book your hotels or punch the address into your GPS. At least a loose plan. The place is huge (did I say that?), and there’s a lot to see, so doing a little research in advance will help your trip run smoothly.

To help you form said plan, I’ve poured out the tips and knowledge I’ve gleaned from my half-a-dozen trips to Brimfield, in the hopes that it helps you navigate your first (or second or seventh) experience there a little bit better.

First, what is Brimfield Flea Market?

Brimfield Flea Market, also known as the Brimfield Antique Show or simply “Brimfield” is “America’s Oldest Outdoor Flea Market” and one of the largest flea markets in the United States.

It takes place three times a year in Brimfield, Massachusetts, which is in the southern part of the state, close to Sturbridge (who remembers field trips at Old Sturbridge Village?) and just a few miles north of the Connecticut border. The Brimfield show happens in May, July, and September — generally the second weeks in May and July, and the first week in September. May is typically the largest and best attended of the Brimfield show dates, followed by September and then July.

Contrary to its name, Brimfield Flea Market is not actually one large flea market. It’s made up of 21 individual flea markets, or “fields” that happen at the same time. Each field has a different owner and features anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred vendors, and many fields have a distinct feel or vibe. Some are more budget-friendly, others are dedicated to high-end furniture, antiques or collectibles. Certain fields also charge a fee to get in, while others are free or only charge for part of the day. (Most are free, though!)

The fields have names like “Dealer’s Choice,” and “Heart o’ the Mart” and “May’s Antique Market.” and each field is in the same spot year after year.

You’ll usually find people who have a few favorite fields, but I’ve found that they’re all worth a browse (which makes it tough to know where to begin, but I’ll share more about that below).

The fields are all next to each other along a mile-long strip of Route 20 in Brimfield.

So basically, Brimfield is like 21 flea markets all happening right next to each other at the same time.

When the show isn’t happening, the town of Brimfield is also home to lots of antique centers and dealers, too.

What is at the Brimfield Flea Market?

Brimfield is a hotspot for furniture and design enthusiasts, because of the large selection of antiques, furnishings, art, and decor at the show each year.

Most of the items you’ll find at the Brimfield Flea Market are smaller – think art, accent furniture, wall decor, rugs, etc., but there are also sellers that specialize in large furniture, like coffee tables, or leather chesterfield sofas, or armoires.

In addition to some of the best furniture and decor around, you’ll also find a handful of vintage clothing vendors, as well as specialty collectible booths dedicated to things like automobile memorabilia, sports, or music.

When is Brimfield Flea Market held? And when’s the best time to go?

The dates that Brimfield Flea Market is held change each year, but the show usually falls during the second weeks of May and July, and the first week of September each year.

In 2023, the Brimfield Flea Market will be held on:

  • May 14-19, 2024
  • July 9-14, 2024
  • September 3-8, 2024

As I mentioned, the May show is usually the largest and best attended, followed by September and then July. It gets pretty hot in those fields in the middle of July. Not that that stops the die-hards, myself included, but some of the crowd definitely chooses to stay away in July.

The show always starts on a Tuesday, and ends on a Sunday. If you’re really looking for something specific, and want the best selection, it’s best to go early in the week. If you’re looking for deals, go on Sunday. Vendors are packing up and looking to lighten their load, so they’re usually more willing to offer deals and discounts on Sunday. Just know that a lot of vendors will be packing up by lunchtime, so if you do go Sunday, go early.

If you live within driving distance of the show, it’s a great day trip, but know that you may not see the whole show (in fact, it’s highly unlikely that you will, it’s that big).

There are hotels nearby, but they book up early, so if you want to stay more than a day, make your travel plans early.

Where to park at Brimfield Flea Market?

One of the biggest questions you might have about Brimfield is where to park when you get there. For me, that was one of my concerns when I first went. First, because I was worried about the lots being sold out and not being able to park. But, I was also worried about parking near the good fields, and not overpaying for it.

The good news is there is plenty of parking at Brimfield. I’ve always found a spot and I’ve never paid more than $10 for it.

It can be a little intimidating when you first go to Brimfield and you start seeing parking lots in people’s yards and in front of churches a half a mile or more from the actual flea market, but don’t be afraid to drive right to the middle of the show. You’ll find a spot. Early morning is easier, of course.

Where I park at Brimfield

Personally, I always park in the lot behind the Brimfield winery. It’s right off of rt. 20, and you can’t miss it.

I park here for a few reasons.

The first is that the winery is in a big, red barn, which makes it hard to forget where you parked. So if you’ve never been to Brimfield and are worried about getting lost, park behind the big red barn. It’s also a nice landmark to use to decide just how far you’ll have to walk back to your car, and when you want to start making your way back.

There’s also one of the few on-site ATMs right by the barn, which is nice since many vendors only take cash.

I also like that the winery is pretty close to the center of the fields, so you can go either direction. I usually start at Hertan’s, which is the field adjacent to the winery.

Which brings me tooooo:

Do you need a ticket for Brimfield Flea Market?

Nope. You don’t need to purchase a ticket in advance. Most of the fields are free, and you just walk right in. The ones that do charge a fee collect it at the gate.

Is Brimfield cash only?

Whether Brimfield is cash only depends on the vendor and situation. Parking is cash only, so you’ll at least want to have enough cash on hand to park ($10-$20 will do).

When it comes to vendors, some are cash-only, while others take Venmo and some will have credit card readers. I always find it’s a good idea to bring at least some cash with you. There are also a handful of ATMs on site if you find something you love and need more cash to cover it.

Is there food at the Brimfield Antique Shows?

You didn’t think you’d have to walk 30,000 steps in a day while shopping til you drop without grabbing a snack, did you? There are definitely food vendors at the flea market. Most are concentrated at the center of the show along Route 20, but you’ll find some odd food stands here and there in different fields, too.

There’s actually a decent variety of food, too. You’ll find standard carnival fare, barbecue, burgers, etc.

Are there bathrooms at Brimfield Flea Market?

So, this is not something I covered originally in this post, but I came back and added it in because I got a couple of emails from readers of this post specifically asking if there were bathrooms on site!

The answer is: There are bathrooms at Brimfield. I’ve only ever seen the Port-a-Potty variety, though, so bring your hand sanitizer.

Most fields have their own selection of Por-a-potties, so they’re not too hard to find.

Is Brimfield kid-friendly?

If you’re heading to Brimfield to do some serious shopping, you’ll probably want to leave your kids at home. It’s a lot of walking, it can get hot, and the bathrooms are usually on the opposite end of whatever field you’re in. My kids would be bored in about 3 minutes if I brought them, and they are also like untethered tumbleweeds and would break everything in their path in just as much time. Needless to say I don’t bring them.

But, Brimfield allows kids, and you’ll see them here and there. Usually, it’s smaller kids in strollers or baby carriers, or older tweens/teens who can handle the walking. If you just want to go to Brimfield to check it out and take a nice walk in a cute New England setting, the kids can probably come along.

Tips for Brimfield Flea Market first timers:

  • Bring a few reusable tote bags for smaller items you find while shopping.
  • Try and travel light – i.e. pack a small crossbody purse for your phone, water and cash, and leave the rest in the car.
  • Take advantage of courier services. If you find something that’s too large to pack in your car, you can have it shipped. There are on-site shipping and courier services at the fair.
  • Wear comfortable shoes! This isn’t the time to put fashion first. There’s lot of walking, and the fields are actual fields, which means there’s lots of grass and dirt and things to trip over. Sneakers are perfect.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Some vendors aren’t open to it, but most are. If you love something, give your best offer and see what happens.

That’s all I’ve got! Feel free to email me if you have any questions, and maybe I’ll run into you at the shows this year!

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  4. Good Morning Kaitlin,
    September will be our first time visiting Brimfield. Good information in your post. Any suggestions on where to stay that would be fairly close for first timers? This is a mother/daughter road trip and we are more than excited!!! Trying to plan ahead as much as possible.
    Kelly Mason

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