Brimfield’s main street crowded as buyers of eclectic items roamed for bargains on the first day of the 54th annual Brimfield Antiques Shows.
Many who buy are themselves merchants who sell their Brimfield-bought items back home.
Sally Davolio, of Leciester, has been attending the thrice-per-year event for 15 years just to collect stuff she likes.
“I collect bears,” she said. Not the furry ones that are alive, but anything with a bear theme.
In her cart was a three-set record collection of 45s she purchased for $7, called "The Bear That Wasn’t."
Although Davolio has no idea what the music will sound like, that is not important.
“I am having fun,” she said. “We just have a great day walking around.”
Set to music composed by Walter Schumann, "The Bear That Wasn’t" is narrated by Keenan Wynn.
There was a silhouette-shaped bear carved of tin among her day’s purchases, costing $15.
And a large wooden polar bear painted white she paid $25 for.
West Springfield businessman Mike Zombik of Pioneer Valley Wholesale Corp. sold the wooden polar bear.
This is his fourth year selling merchandise at Brimfield Antique Show.
He said people go away happy because “we sell stuff at a fair price.” His wide assortment of items are selected using a very low-technology system.
“If I like something, someone else is going to like it,” Zombik said.
He used to sell at the Holyoke flea market until they closed two years ago.
Darlene Burns of Chicopee, who used to own the Holyoke market until she and her husband sold it, now own land along the Brimfield meadow and rent space to
40 vendors. The year-round Holyoke show was inside and accomodated 200 vendors, she said.
“It is a lot of money to run a business,” she said.
Stephen Healey, 50, of New Bedford attended his first Brimfield Antique Show in search of old books on Tuesday and liked what he saw.
“It’s amazing, it’s more than you can take in at once,” he said, noting “how really kind everyone is. The kind of feel a small town can be proud of.”
Rod and Tracey Berkowitz have been traveling up from their Lambertville, N.J., home to the Brimfield show annually since their marriage 11years ago.
They purchase items to sell at their own business, Zinc Home & Garden.
Their Facebook page says they focus on “an eclectic mix of industrial and primitive pieces” as home furnishings.
Tracey described their offerings more creatively.
“It’s like New York City loft meets Martha Stewart,” she said.
Asked if the Brimfield vendors have what they are looking for, Berkowitz said: “We blew our budget quick so it’s good.”
The Brimfield antique show along Route 20 runs all this week through Sunday, from dawn to dusk. In addition to the May event, Brimfield will host antique shows on July 9-14 and Sept. 3-8.