By Ben Olson
If it exists, you can probably find it in one form or fashion at the Funky Junk Festival.
For over a decade, the grassroots antique and craft show will fill the Bonner County Fairgrounds building with over 100 vendors, each selling a variety of antiques, crafts, jewelery, upcycled treasures and artistic creations. Attendees will find anything from salvage to retro and everything between.
The 11th annual show will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 1-2 at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. Admission is $5, and kids 12 and under attend free.
Jennifer Wood, the founder and organizer of Funky Junk, chooses a theme for the show every year that honors a local tradition or industry. This year, Wood chose the theme “Wagons Ho, Funky Junk or Bust!” to honor the wagon trains that drew many homesteaders across the country during westward expansion.
“My dad had suggested it last year, and I said it would be fun to do a wagon train theme,” Wood said. “He said he had this painting hanging that my great grandmother did.”
The painting by Selma Calhoun-Barker, a noted artist who moved to North Idaho in the 1930s from southern Idaho, was used by Wood as the poster for this year’s show.
“She was a historic artist. She taught classes at Oden Hall,” Wood said “We try to come up with something in history, so we thought of the Oregon Trail. That’s the whole point of the show, to honor history. When you buy something as an antique, you preserve it and give it a new life.”
Wood said the Funky Junk Festival has grown each year, attracting over 5,000 people each year from all over the region, drawn by the promise of unique treasures.
“We have a lot of new vendors this year, too,” Wood said. “Lots of 20-something hipsters who are creating things from salvage and repurpose. Lots of rustic stuff from Montana. That’s a big draw.”
Aside from the scores of vendors selling their wares, Funky Junk also features food, entertainment, and for the first time, a western saloon provided by Bonners Ferry business Under the Sun. There will also be live music by Bridges Home on Saturday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and Deep Roots from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Hoodoo Valley Hoedowners will return as food vendors.
“This year they’re hand-mixing huckleberry milkshakes with an old 1950s milkshake machine,” Wood said.
Wood said it’s always fun to watch the different trends develop with antiques and crafts.
“The hot trend right now in craft is fiber arts,” Wood said. “People want things made by hand. We have one vendor selling spun wool, and we’ve seen some really primitive rustic furniture. My friend Carol and I call it ‘smoky dirty Europe.’ The Bohemian style seems to be coming around again, too.”
Wood, a fifth-generation Bonner County resident, first started Funky Junk in 2007 and has watched it grow to a Sandpoint institution in recent years.
“Everybody wants to be different,” Wood said. “People want something that’s not mass produced. For those who have never been, it’s more than just a sale or an event,” Wood said. “We want people to feel they are stepping into a whole ‘nother realm when they come to Funky Junk.”
A connection to the origin and historical nature of an object is often what draws attendees to purchase items found at Funky Junk, Wood said.
“The vendors will tell you the story of how they picked the item up,” Wood said. “Maybe it was a stool they found on the side of the road in Selle, or it was picked up at an estate auction for the woman who was the voice for Woody the Woodpecker. It’s that little touch, leaving there with an experience and a piece of someone else’s story. Whether it’s been handmade or found, you’re carrying on a legacy.”
For more information on the Funky Junk Festival, point your web browser to FunkyJunkAntiqueShow.com.