Shows, the early shoppers get the bargains.
Vince Viglione, the parking attendant at May's Antique Market at the Brimfield shows, said there were people waiting as early as 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday to shop, even though the fields were not scheduled to open until sunrise.
Tuesday was the kickoff of the July run of the antiques shows, which last through Sunday. The thrice-annual shows turn a mile stretch of Route 20 into an antiques haven, attracting customers from all over the country and beyond.
There was a steady stream of people walking along Route 20 after 6 a.m., some already with treasures in hand. Elaine M. Brillhart, of Clinton, said she was ready to shop.
"No matter how early I get here, it's never early enough," Brillhart said. "It's a great adventure for antique shoppers. It's sort of the ultimate. I've
been coming here for almost 25 years and always on the first day, and it's always as fun and exciting as when I first came. I just enjoy the things you don't expect to see."
"Antique shoppers will go to great lengths to get their antiques," Brillhart added.
Larry and Marie Butchen, of Wantagh, N.Y., arrived at 4 a.m. It was too early to shop, so they sat and drank coffee before heading out to the fields. The
couple has been coming to Brimfield for 30 years. Larry Butchen already bought two items before 6:30 a.m. -- a vintage mailbox (he talked the dealer down from
$125 to $85) and an iron welcome sign. The sign was marked $115, but he got it for $80. He estimated that both items date back to the 1930s.
"I never saw a welcome sign made out of iron," he said.
The Butchens resell their finds at other antique shows. They said they stay at Brimfield for five days.
"It's fun and you forget your age. You forget everything," said Larry Butchen, who is 89. "It's a different atmosphere and you're young again."
"It's like our vacation," said 83-year-old Marie Butchen.
Over at the Shelton's field, dealer Michael McClintock, of Lambertville, N.J., said he already made some early sales. He's been selling items at Brimfield for more than 30 years.
"One thing about it up here, there's a collector for everything," McClintock said.
One of the interesting items in his booth was a small sword cane from the 1800s that featured a dog and cat carved out of ivory. McClintock was selling it for $950.
Sisters Sandra J. Miarecki and Gail K. Arsenault, of Ware, got to Brimfield at 5:45 a.m. They said they've been going to the shows for 40 years. Miarecki bought an old wooden drawer for $15 that she plans to use for supplies for her rug hooking business. Arsenault was looking for garden items with an ocean theme.
"We love old things and we love antiques," Miarecki said.
"And the atmosphere," Arsenault said.
"And we love getting out early," Miarecki added.
Gene Melkisethian bought a dozen records from the likes of Brian Eno, Tuxedomoon and the Beach Boys for $65 that he plans to resell at his Washington, D.D. vintage shop, Joint Custody.
"I come here to buy stuff for the store," he said.
In the Pennington Antiques booth at the Shelton's field, Sarah Eby showed off a horn chair from 1877 they were selling for $1,200. Gary Pennington, who also runs Pennington Antiques in Pennsylvania, said the horns are from longhorn cattle. It was set up next to a large dolphin fountain.
He showed off a large table with a mirror and marble top that had hand-carved wooden griffins. He was selling that for $1,500. It was next to a 150-pound bronze leopard statue going for $2,800.
"Anybody can come to Brimfield with boring stuff. I don't want boring," Pennington said.
Pennington also did the May show, which he said was very good.
"You get a real gauge for the economy by doing these shows," Pennington said.
The next antiques show is Sept. 3 through 8.