On Saturday, Ryan and I dropped the girls off at their grandparent’s right after breakfast and headed to The Vintage Bazaar in Salisbury, MA. This was kind of a big deal. This was my first full day away from my 18 month old and only my second full day away from my 3.5 year old since they were born. We are slowly working our way up to an overnight eventually! As much as we clearly adore those two crazy creatures, a peaceful car ride, no diapers, no toddler potty emergencies and only having to feed ourselves was very welcome. The fact that the VB was an amazing event and the weather was perfect were just bonuses!
This was our first time attending the VB and throughout the day we kept comparing it to Brimfield because…well, that’s just what we do! Here’s what we came up with!
Like Brimfield, the VB has three shows a year but the timing is slightly different. They hold two shows in prime flea market season: one at the end of June and another at the end of September. The June and September events are two day shows held on Saturday and Sunday. Their third show brilliantly takes place in early November. It’s Christmas-themed and takes place in heated tents. I’m in love with that whole idea since there is such a lull in antique events at that time of year. I also love the idea of buying vintage/antique Christmas gifts for people but I am not the type of person that can buy gifts six months ahead of time.
The VB events are held at Pettengill Farm in Salisbury, MA. As we approached the farm traffic slowed to a crawl. It was obvious the show draws a volume of people and vehicles that the area doesn’t typically get. But the parking lots were clearly marked and there was plenty of staff to guide us to a spot. Parking was free and then it was a short walk through the woods to the beautiful farm where all the action was in full swing. Unlike the vast flat fields of Brimfield, the farm has lush grass, rolling hills, a few greenhouses/buildings and a quaint little pond.
There’s no comparison really. Brimfield (arguably) has 4,000-6,000 dealers at their larger shows. The VB hovers around 175. But you know what? It still felt big. In a good way. Yes, we were able to stroll through and see every booth in a few hours. But then we had time to go back and look more closely and there wasn’t that unspoken pressure to just keep moving so you wouldn’t miss anything like there is in Brimfield. I’m sure part of it was that I wasn’t working (or wrangling kids) but it was just an enjoyable day of browsing. For the type of show that it is, I think the VB is just the right size. Between the special presentations, music, food and shopping you could easily make two days out of it. But you can feel good about spending one day there and you don’t have to walk the equivalent of a half marathon to feel accomplished.
Compared to Brimfield, the VB feels more cohesive from a shopper’s perspective. Think more Country Living Fair than Brimfield. There was a wide range of vendors and types of merchandise but the quality and presentation felt curated and deliberate (in a good way). Ryan commented that there was a big focus on finished projects, at least compared to Brimfield. The work had been done. Furniture was already painted or reupholstered and many things had already been repurposed for you. Most booths were stylized and beautiful and there were a lot of artists selling jewelry, upcycled products and indie crafts. There was eye candy everywhere you turned and it was all high quality. It all worked and made perfect sense for the type of event it is. For some people, the rawness of Brimfield is exactly what they want and need. For others, I think the VB is what they wish Brimfield was: polished dealers in close proximity with home-ready pieces all in a fun flea market atmosphere. I should also add that the prices were great. Everything I looked at was less expensive than I expected it to be which makes shopping even more fun!
(Shameless App Plug: The Brimfield Flea Finder app can help make shopping Brimfield a bit easier. Use it before you head to the show to find dealers you don’t want to miss. The map view can help you see where they are located in relation to each other to make your shopping more efficient.)
Here are some of the items we came home from the VB with:
This sweet little book has a fun secret
inside. I’m not sure what I will keep in it but I just had to have
And I couldn’t resist this bread box
for $15. It now hides our toaster and the eternal bag of mini bagels
that never quite gets put away. I love the idea of it, but I’m not
sure how I feel about the off white with everything else in that
corner. I would love to find a similar one with more color and
replace it eventually. But for now it works and I can keep my eye
open in Brimfield and trade up when the right one comes along!
Last but not least, we bought this set
of spaghetti glasses for my inlaws. My husband’s grandparents had the
tall glasses and pitcher when they were growing up. We had never seen
this size before so we snatched them up for $20 and a last minute
Father’s Day gift!
It was just good old fashioned fun. I’m sure it helped that it was 75 degrees, sunny and breezy but I think it was more than that. There was live music playing all day, several areas to get refreshments, adorable vintage Airstream campers strewn about and the food was amazing. Everyone was in good spirits, including the vendors.
We had a lot of great food throughout the day. Sliders from Compliments Food Truck were sinfully good. Another standout was an empanada truck called Buen Sabor Food. Clean and fresh aren’t generally words I associate with fried food but you couldn’t help but think that when you were eating them. They clearly care about the ingredients they use and it showed. They seem like a pretty cool company too. Maybe we can get them to Brimfield someday!
We had a great time talking to people all day. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to be there. Devon Chouinard-Allen, the founder and director of the show, was understandably busy all day but was having fun and made herself available to everyone. She is such a powerhouse and has a great team behind her and the show is a testament to that. Everyone we saw and talked to was having a great time.
We were able to say hello to a few of our Brimfield dealers while we were there too. Seed to Stem, Scrapped and Found, Farnswood, Milk House Antiques and My Sister’s Garage were all there doing their thing. Danielle Driscoll from Finding Silver Pennies had a booth too. She has the most gorgeous painted furniture and impeccable coastal style. I “met” Danielle on Instagram several months ago while I was promoting the app and I am now obsessed with her blog and IG feed (@ddsilverpennies). So it was really fun to meet her in person.
Devon also put together some amazing presentations with special guests like DIY Network’s Joanne Palmisano and HGTVs Cari Cucksey and Mathew Mead. That kind of thing rarely takes place in Brimfield because there’s no overall management of the show. It’s really a missed opportunity and it’s something I would love to address someday somehow. A girl can dream, right?
We actually had an opportunity to talk to Cari and it turns out she already had our app on her phone. How cool is that? We were able to talk to her about Brimfield a bit and then she gave me a few painting tips for using her Chroma•Color Paint. I’ll be using it on a recent #craigslistfind soon. I’ll share all the details in upcoming post.
|Me and Cari. She thinks my name is Susan. That’s cool.
All in all it was a really great day. In the end, we came to the conclusion that it doesn’t do either event justice to compare them side by side. The Vintage Bazaar is an incredibly organized fun event that I will look forward to attending in the future. If you haven’t been I highly recommend checking it out. I don’t think you will be disappointed. But Brimfield will always have my heart. There’s nothing else like it and it could never be duplicated. And I just realized there are two more Brimfields before the next VB event so I will definitely be ready for another fun stress free day by then!
Will you be joining us at any of the upcoming shows?
Brimfield July 14-19
Vintage Bazaar September Sept 26-27
Vintage Bazaar November 6, 7 & 8
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