It’s not junk, it’s Junque

- Photo by Hans Madsen. Ella Christensen, 6, of Ames, discovered that there are indeed giant and very colorful chickens at JunqueFest on the Hamilton County Fairgrounds on Saturday in Webster City.

WEBSTER CITY — It’s a pretty sure bet that almost nobody goes to JunqueFest to shop for anything that they “need” — there’s plenty of local retail for that.

Instead, JunqueFest is for the shopper who’s looking for things that they “want.” It’s stuff that fits in the categories of antiques, art, giant metal chickens and even a miniature Baby Yoda for the flower bed.

So how many things are there at JunqueFest that people want?

Alyssa Redenius, of Webster City, gave it an estimate.

“Oh gosh,” she said. “Like one million and seventy-three… probably.”

Josie Becker, of Manson, bought a box of games. She said it was for a future classroom and that once her first box of games was safely in her car trunk, she was going back for more.

She had some wants too.

“I’m getting some wine and a corndog,” she said. “Also a tribute stone for my husband’s grandfather.”

Tom Tanner, of Webster City, had picked up a birthday present for his sister. Spoiler alert: It fits in the category of not mineral and not animal.

Tanner was killing time with Don Nokes, of Webster City, a vendor at the show who wears a “Licensed Junk Dealer” sheriff’s badge on his cowboy hat.

“I’m just holding down this chair,” Tanner said. “My wife’s out walking around.”

Rilee Scheuermann, of Stratford, wasn’t really looking for anything specific.

“Anything and everything,” he said. “I like to browse. My wife purchased some lawn art for the first time ever though.”

Scheuerman was experiencing a bit of time warp.

“I feel like I’m getting older,” he said. “I see something and I go ‘I had that when I was a kid.'”

He spotted something then zipped away.

“Oh my goodness,” he said. “My wife would love that.”

There might have been one exception to the “need this” rule. The Baked Potato Bags made and sold by Connie Balcom, of Owasa.

“It’s for people who like baked potatoes but they don’t want to wait an hour.” She said. “You wash and dry it, don’t peel it, put it in the bag and then microwave it. You get dry firm skin, all the moisture stays inside.”

She said her handmade potato bags — available in a variety of patterns including, well, potatoes — avoid the usual microwave baked potato disaster.

“The skin gets wet and rubbery,” she said. “This makes them a beautiful potato.”

Balcom agreed she’s the exception, the one need at JunqueFest.

“Yes,” she said. “They need it.”

Many of the vendors at JunqueFest were set up inside the fairground buildings.

The floor of the show arena was bustling with a variety of merchandise. The bleachers were not. That’s where a few gentlemen who don’t really enjoy shopping for “stuff” with their spouses could rest and in good traditional guy fashion, look sad.

Carol Tessandori, of Clarion, found her husband Rick in the bleachers after she finished shopping the floor. He was holding a pair of antique roller skates for a family member.

“It’s not his thing.” She said.

Shannon Keller, of Fort Dodge, found a treasure. An antique end table for a room she’s redecorating in her home.

She also got to participate in one of popular culture’s long running catch phrases after dropping some cash into musician Kris Karr’s tip jar.

She got to ring the cowbell he keeps next to it.

Yep, there really was more cowbell at JunqueFest.


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