By Ben Olson
For Jennifer Wood, there is no such thing as junk—only rusty gold. The fifth generation Bonner County resident started the popular Funky Junk Antique Show in 2007 and has watched it progress from a small gathering of dedicated junkers, crafters and artists to the biggest and longest running antique and craft show in Idaho.
The Funky Junk Antique Show takes place at the Bonner County Fairgrounds on Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Over 100 vendors turn out from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Canada and beyond, offering everything from repurposed furniture to crafts to functional art, will be on hand to sell their wares to the eager public.
“Last year we had 5,500 people come through the door,” said Wood. “That’s three years now we’ve been breaking 5,000. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m so proud of where we’ve come.”
Wood has every reason to brag. The Funky Junk show has grown from a small gathering of junkers and vintage hounds into a cultural phenomenon all its own. In its second year at the Bonner County Fairgrounds, the show has grown far beyond Wood’s wildest imagination.
“I dreamt it up in 2007,” said Wood, who used to work with her husband Nathan at a show called Farm Chicks in Spokane. “Nathan was baking 200 huckleberry pies for the show, I was doing vintage stuff. We were doing what we could as young 20-somethings.”
In 2007, Wood realized she could put on her own show here in Sandpoint and the rest is history: “It kept growing from there, getting this big following,” she said.
Ironically, Wood says that the increase of technology in people’s lives actually contributes toward the popularity of vintage and retro items.
“The more people have access to this technology in their life, the more they yearn for something more,” she said. “They yearn for something with heritage. People turn to vintage all the time because it gives them a sense of comfort and quality. You can’t find things with uniqueness when you’ve got big companies pumping out the same stuff.”
You can find a little bit of everything at the Funky Junk show. Wood finds that a lot of people search for unique wedding items, repurposed furniture and décor, as well as functional items.
“We have a huge following of people in the Mennonite communities in Bonners Ferry,” said Wood. “They’re looking for antique items that still work, like butter churners. They want the real deal.”
Along with the most diverse group of vendors under one roof, the Funky Junk show also features food and drink and live music by Bridges Home, who are coming off their recent appearance at the Festival at Sandpoint.
“It’s exciting for us to have Dave and Tami Gunter back with Bridges Home,” said Wood. “They’ve always been our Sunday music, but this year they’re playing on Saturday and I think they’ll get people coming just to sit and listen to them.”
Every year, the Funky Junk show features a theme. This year, Wood decided to honor the heritage of Bonner County by promoting a lumber jack theme.
“I go back five generations in the Bonner County area and three of those were loggers,” said Wood. “Also, a lot of these shows cater to women more than men. This year, I want to do something manly. I wanted to build a tribute to them, to tip our hats to these guys who gave us what we had up here.”
More than anything, it’s the personal connection that Wood values the most out of this annual show.
“It’s an honor to put this show on every year,” said Wood. “A couple years ago, I had decided I wasn’t going to do the show anymore. I had a vendor come up and thank me for the show. She said ‘I’m able to pay my daughter’s first year of college after this weekend.’ That touched me so much. These people have become family.”
For more information about the coolest vintage show in Idaho, check out www.FunkyJunkAntiqueShow.com, or email Jennifer Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.