BONNERS FERRY — Like the 12 days of Christmas, there have now been 12 years of the Vintage Christmas Market, one of the annual events that signifies the beginning of the holiday season. It began Friday, Nov. 22, and went through Saturday, and the people were ready and waiting at the Boundary County Fairgrounds for the doors to open on the first day.
“Before we even opened the door, there was a line clear out into the parking lot — people waiting to get in here,” said Marianne Duarte, part of the team that puts the event on each year. “Once again, Bonners Ferry comes through. They are so supportive.”
But local people are not the only ones who come out each year to enjoy the wide array of unique and vintage items brought by approximately 20 vendors this year. As with previous years, fans of antiques and vintage Christmas items came from out of state, and even out of country, with people arriving from as far away as Spokane and Kimberley, British Columbia.
“Anyone who loves vintage — they are on the hunt for vintage,” said Duarte. “That is our specialty and that is what brings people here. People who have collected for years just keep coming back.”
By bringing in people from out of town — including a large amount from Creston, thanks to active promotion on Facebook and through mailing lists — it also benefits local businesses, from shops to restaurants.
“Bonners Ferry merchants make money on our weekend,” said Duarte, who happily sends people to local businesses and other holiday events taking place on the same weekend. “It is a festive weekend and I think that it is pretty cool that people all work together.”
The vendors themselves work together as well. Many of them have been friends for about 40 years. Duarte refers to them as being like a family.
“The thing with our sales is that everybody is not doing the same thing. There is variety and it is just a good mix,” said Duarte. “We have people who do all different kinds of things, so nobody is really competing against each other.”
Even the fairly new vendors are embraced by the group and the are a welcome addition. For Soul Shine Bistro co-owner, Laken Rice, who brought baked goods and is a part of the Vintage Christmas Market for the second year, the first few hours brought a large amount of business with items selling out quickly, prompting her to have more made in their bistro.
“All my pies have pretty much sold out,” said Rice after only three hours of being open. “So far it is really, really good.”
Whether the items were vintage, handmade, or edible, the Christmas theme ushered in the holiday spirit, welcoming the people that came with a wide array of treasures to be explored.
“I think it is a really good thing to have in a little town like this — get people together and look through older stuff,” said Devyn Rogers, who came to admire the market. “It is just nice to see all the antiques still being bought and used and remade.”
With the constant flow of people arriving with looks of anticipation and awe upon entering either of the two buildings occupied by the market, or leaving with smiles and bags of new goodies to give as gifts or display in their house for the holidays, the Vintage Holiday Market proved to be a fun event for locals and visitors alike again this year.
“We are just thrilled and grateful and thankful to Bonners Ferry, and to anyone who travels here,” said Duarte. “Amazing as always.”