Since 1959, the town of Brimfield has been home to what it bills as the country’s oldest outdoor antique market. For three weekends a year, shoppers from across the globe descend on the Brimfield Flea Market in search of deals and unique finds. After pausing for COVID-19, the flea market is set to return in full swing starting next week.

“It's going to be business as usual, if not bigger and better than ever,” said Lori Faxon, owner of the Brimfield Antiques Center.

The flea market, which will be open July 13 through 18, is comprised of 21 independent antique shows. Each field has their own vendors, with some fields having as many as 400 vendors. It’s a huge draw — some buyers come from as far away as Australia to look for antiques. Brimfield Police Chief Charles Kuss emphasized how important the show is to Brimfield residents.

“It’s older than, say, half the population, maybe a little more, so a lot of people have devoted their whole lives,” Kuss said. “There’s a lot of high school kids that work there, a lot of young adults, all kinds of stories.”

Like most things, the flea market was affected by COVID-19. The fair shut down in 2020, but in May 2021, the Brimfield board of selectmen allowed the operators to open their fields so long as they followed COVID-19 guidelines. Many field owners felt the restrictions were too harsh and elected not to open for the first show weekend since September 2019.

One field did open for the first weekend of the 2021 season — Kate and Rusty Corriveau’s Brimfield Auction Acres. Kate Corriveau says the decision to open was well worth following the town’s guidelines.

“It was amazing,” Corriveau said. “Being the only show here, we just had, you know, a giant turnout. We had to count because of the COVID restriction. On the second day, we just stopped counting, because we just hovered at 1700 all day long."

Corriveau said she and Rusty felt an obligation to hold the show. Rusty has been involved with the flea market since he was in high school in the 1980s, when he worked parking cars on the same field that the Corriveaus now own.

“It’s been going on since 1959 on our field,” she said. “It's the oldest one, the first one. So there was really kind of more of a standout obligation.”

The new season brings new opportunities for vendors. Some are bringing COVID-era ideas to the current show season, including Klia Ververidis, ringmaster at Brimfield Antique Shows, LLC and owner and operator of Hertan’s Field. In 2020, she and other show promoters facilitated a virtual version of the Brimfield fair.

“We had something like a half a million page views across platforms for that May show,” Ververidis said. “It's really turned into a pretty involved thing that we're going to continue now when the show goes back live.”

Ververidis says Leigh Keno of Antiques Roadshow will also be doing a live appraisal event on Hertan’s Field on July 17.

Faxon has been working with her “second family” at Brimfield for over 30 years, and she’s ready to get back to business.

“We usually see each other three times a year, and I haven't seen many of them since the fall of 2019,” Faxon said. “So I guess I'm most excited about seeing all of our customers return. You know, being able to give them a hug.”

The Brimfield Flea Market will also be open Sept. 7-12 this year.