Finding treasures

The old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” was very evident in Webster City last weekend. What some might deem to be junk, other found new ways to repurpose, reinvent and transform into unusual home and garden dcor.

The first-ever JunqueFest was held at Wilson Brewer Historic Park in Webster City. More than 50 vendors of antiques and repurposed items set up shop on the lawn of the Depot Museum at the intersection of Superior and Ohio Streets.

“We had well over 500 people Friday night which is good for the first night of any new event. Today (Saturday), there have been well over a thousand people here and it’s only two and half hours into it,” said Mike Constant, who created the Iowa Antique Network and is one of several JunqueFest organizers. According to social media posts, organizers estimated more than 3,000 attended the event throughout the weekend.

Constant said there will likely be a JunqueFest next year as well.

Vendors for the event came from as far as Omaha and as near as Webster City, Fort Dodge and Stratford.

Don and Trudy Anderson of rural Webster City, were among the local enterprises to set up a booth for JunqueFest. Their business, TADA, offered customers a diverse selection of wooden pieces, metal and vintage items.

“Unfortunately, I love to go to auctions. If you go to auctions, you have to have a way to get rid of some of it because you always acquire too much,” Don Anderson said.

Anderson said he and his wife for years have been interested in repurposing materials. When the couple built their home, they used items salvaged from the old Webster City Middle School and the Stratford School. The retired music teacher said their interests and business seem to mesh well with current junk decorating trend.

“With this craze of chipping paint, it just seemed sort natural for us,” he said.

Holly Mortenson was among the shoppers on Saturday morning. She said she was enjoying the nice weather and interesting items on display.

“The organizers really deserve a pat on the back for this event. Having this many vendors is really great,” Mortenson said.

She admitted that she had found a few treasures as she browsed the booths.

“Not that my husband needs to know, but I found a few bargains,” she said.

Artist Michael Drake of Fort Dodge demonstrated his unique style of painting during JunqueFest. Drake creates free-style spray cant art.

He discovered spray can art videos on YouTube and decided to try his hand at it.

“This is my third season doing this,” he said. Drake drew crowds as he designed and created landscapes and abstract pieces throughout the weekend.

In addition to the junk and antiques vendors, visitors had the chance to sample food from local restaurants and to sample wine from two Iowa wineries.