Shopping in the streets

Artwork, food and fun in downtown Cd'A

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Sherman Avenue in Coeur d'Alene bustles with visitors to the Downtown Street Fair on Friday. The event continues today and Sunday, along with Art on the Green and the Taste of Coeur d'Alene.

COEUR d'ALENE - Recycled spoon art, tarot card readings, mini bubble guns, antiques, clothing, emu oil products, hand-painted glass nail files, snow cones and sausages. Those are just some of the items offered by nearly 250 merchants at this weekend's Downtown Street Fair on Sherman Avenue in Coeur d'Alene.

While many of the vendors come from outside Kootenai County to participate, there are some locals with booths.

One of the younger merchants is 16-year-old Joanna Kenefick of Coeur d'Alene. Known to many as "JoJo," Kenefick is half of Jo and Joe Crafts, a vendor offering wooden bird feeders and picture frames.

Soon to be a Lake City High School junior, Kenefick builds her wares with her business partner, Joe Galloway, her grandfather.

"Everything is Idaho, even me," Kenefick said of her products.

The cedar the pair transforms into happy moose- and bear-faced bird feeders and feeders shaped like colorful trailer campers comes from Kenefick's great-uncle's property.

Kenefick's grandmother, Janet Galloway, was helping assist customers at the booth Friday afternoon.

Business was brisk.

"We hoped to sell 20 (bird feeders) a day," Galloway said.

Three hours after the street fair opened, they had already made 18 sales.

The real goal for Kenefick is to raise enough money to visit Italy with her Latin class during spring break. Earlier this year, she told her grandfather she'd like to go on the trip, and that she needs $3,000 to do it.

"He says, 'There's a stack of wood over there. Get to work,'" Kenefick said.

She started building her inventory in March, and has been working hard ever since.

Kenefick has done this before, crafting and selling items to pay for something important. When she was in eighth grade, bird houses made a trip to Washington, D.C. possible.

"I've done it for braces, a car," she said.

In addition to straight teeth, Kenefick owns a 1994 Jeep Cherokee.

"I work hard, but I get the rewards. I enjoy spending time with my grandparents. That's really the best part," Kenefick said.

Further down the street, Mike Bower, of Coeur d'Alene, was selling wooden bowls he crafts each winter in his garage.

Bower cuts the wood into small segments that are glued together, giving the bowls their roundness. He presses and sands them, and then adds a clear finish that shows off the colors and quality of the different types of wood he uses, and the designs he creates as he's putting them together.

"All the woods are from all over the world; some are really rare," Bower said. "Some cost up to $70 a board foot."

There are bowls made of burled Koa, wood that only grows in Hawaii; burled black walnut; lacewood from Australia; blood wood; canary wood and more.

Bower, who is retired, began building the bowls as a hobby, something to do during the winter. They pile up, so three years ago, he and wife Connie began setting up a booth at the Downtown Street Fair, their only vendor venue.

The bowls are priced at $20 to $200, which Bower knows is a bargain. He's seen similar items for sale in places like Palm Springs, for $3,500, and probably why he's been getting calls from past customers.

"If they make people happy, I want them to be able to buy them," Bower said.

Another local vendor is James Garr, of Rathdrum. With wife Marie, Garr owns Jazzy Gems and Jams, a business that sells jewelry, 90 percent of it made by James.

"We use all real gemstones. We don't do glass," Garr said. "We've got gemstones from all over the world."

Like Mike Bower, Garr is retired, and a self-taught artisan.

He started making jewelry years ago, and recalled his first show in 1970, when he worked solely with turquoise. These days he works with all types of gems - emeralds, rubies, topaz. He and Marie travel to get gemstones and have a trip to India planned this year.

"Good quality stones are hard to come by," he said.

The Garrs sell their jewelry at local events only - Hayden Days, Rathdrum Days, Post Falls Days, and again, like Bower, offer their products at bargain prices.

Garr said the markup on most retail jewelry is about 400 percent.

Garr has one more thing in common with Bower, his reason for making jewelry.

"You've got to do something in the winter," Garr said, with a smile.

The Downtown Street Fair continues today from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and then again on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Art on the Green and Taste of Coeur d'Alene are also going on downtown for the rest of the weekend, beginning each day at 10 a.m.

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