Junk is a four-letter word Laura Branson and Molly Mortensen are particularly fond of.

They like it so much, they're hoping to build a business around it. But first they want to share their love of junk with the rest of Missoula.

How one uses junk isn't all that important: If you're looking to create a rusty salvaged look, or a shabby chic or retro feel in your home, repurposed junk is the way to go. Whether it's old chicken feeders or a rusty typewriter, the creative things people can do with junk is limitless, Branson said.

What you've got to know: "It's not negative," Mortensen said. "Let's just say the word could also be ‘treasures.' "

In the world of vintage markets, junk has become the ultimate term of endearment. "Junkin' " is a popular movement that employs the notion to "just reuse everything you can," Mortensen said.

On Saturday, Mortensen and Branson are hoping Missoulians will jump on the junkin' bandwagon by attending their Prairie Sisters Party at the Missoula County Fairgrounds. The vintage market will feature 29 vendors selling everything from junk to antiques to crafts to artisanal foods. The party runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $4.

Branson and Mortensen have long shared a love of vintage market events and got the idea on trips to other markets around the area. While vintage markets are popular across the country, they'd never seen one here.

So they created Prairie Sisters and began work on creating Missoula's own version.

The barns at the fairgrounds presented the perfect venue, and they've had help from a host of "secret sisters" who worked behind the scenes to make the event a reality.

"There's a really tight-knit community of junkers and they all help each other out," Mortensen said.

On Saturday, the entire bottom floor of the fairgrounds' Commercial Building will be full of vintage vendors.

Vendors like Montana Vintage Greens, which recycles vintage linens and pre-loved clothing into hats, booties and jackets, will sell their wares there.

Outside, Mintage Airstream of Missoula will be on hand to showcase a few of its redone Airstream trailers. In the food court area, there will be barbecue items, macaroni and cheese, and even cupcakes made by the Prairie Sisters themselves.

"We called it a party for a reason," Mortensen said.

Building excitement hasn't been hard. As they passed out fliers, posters and business cards promoting the event, "Missoula was just so receptive," Branson said.

The pair hope to build on that positive response, eventually growing Prairie Sisters into a business that allows them to sell their own inventory at other markets. They're also planning to host expanded parties in the future.

"I can see Missoula making it really, really big here," Branson said.

Reporter Jenna Cederberg can be reached at 523-5241 or a jenna.cederberg@missoulian.com.


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