Published: June 3, 2011
A rare and deadly tornado tore through western Massachusetts on June 1, causing widespread damage and four reported deaths in the state, including one here, according to authorities. Spared, however, were the more than 20 fields and buildings operated by antiques show promoters comprising the Brimfield antiques markets.
Home to the renowned antiques and flea markets conducted three times a year, the stretch of Route 20 running through Brimfield had only weeks earlier been mobbed by thousands of shoppers and dealers attending the May 2011 edition of the 52-year-old gathering.
Tina Belleville, office assistant for the New England Motel antiques show, said, “Miraculously, we’re okay. It [the tornado] missed all the fields.” She added that after touching down on Route 20, the twister veered off into the wooded section, skipping the mile-long stretch that has markets on either side, but, tragically, striking a campground four miles to the south of the town center where the fatality occurred.
A press release from Old Sturbridge Village on June 2 said that the museum was closed due to storm-related power outages in town, but that the museum buildings had not sustained any tornado damage. The museum was expecting to reopen on June 3, with weekend special events continuing as planned. †W.A. Demers
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