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September 8, 2012: Today was my first time visiting the Brimfield Antique Show. This is an antiquing event held in western Massachusetts three times per year. It's enormously popular among hobbyists, collectors, and anyone who enjoys antiques of any kind. At its peak today (Saturday) there were easily several thousand people in attendance, and traffic on the route to the show area was backed up for miles – literally. However, even though I'd barely planned ahead, I managed to do almost everything RIGHT today! I avoided nearly all of the traffic; I found exactly the items I looked for, at great bargains; I didn't spend a lot of money; and I saw a lot of amazing sights. Even though I'm hardly a veteran antiquer, I strongly recommend take a few precautions when you go to the Brimfield Antique Show, because it will avoid you a lot of frustration.

First of all, I left the house at a little past 6:00 AM and arrived there at 7:00 AM. The show runs on the schedule of a yard sale, with some stalls (allegedly) opening for business as early as 6:00 AM. I arrived before the massive crowds of visitors, and I had my pick of the parking lots; yet, I still chose a parking lot on the outer perimeter of the fairgrounds, about a 5 to 10 minute walk away. This meant that when I left the place to return home – at only 11:15 AM, because I was exhausted – I didn't have to inch my car through thousands and thousands of parking cars and walking people. It also meant I was early enough score one genuine bargain, one that I would have missed if I'd arrived later that morning.

My agenda was modest, and I was looking specifically for two items: a cast iron muffin-and-cupcake pan, and a 7-inch American-made cast iron skillet to replace my Asian-made one. (I figured there would be enough variety to make a selection like that.) I stuck to my guns and mostly avoided temptation (ahem)! In all, I ended up spending $60 for the entire show, including parking and four specific items that (I think) were all great bargains.

Brimfield Antique Show: