If you go back far enough in the history of the Washington Fair, one of the goals was to help farm youth in the area by staging an auction in which they could reap financial rewards for raising livestock for the market. That goal still is alive and the 2014 auction will be held at noon Saturday.
Steers, hogs, lambs and dairy products will be auctioned. Only Blue Ribbon farm animals will be sold.
The auction is a Fair climax for the young exhibitors. The rewards always have been there because of the support given by businesses, individuals, groups of buyers and families and friends of the exhibitors. This is as much an educational program for youth as it is a money-making undertaking. The experience they receive in raising livestock and selling their animals provides an economic lesson.
Probably one of the most gratifying results of the auction is that the young exhibitors save the money paid to them, which is above market prices, and the funds are used to help pay for a college education.
The auction would not be a success without the tremendous support given by the buyers of the livestock. Year after year, buyers show up and participate in bidding, which can be intense for some of the animals. Many of the bidders buy more than one of the animals.
There also are sponsors of the auction who help pay for the expenses involved in staging the event, including a lunch before the auction, and refreshments during the bidding and other expenses, such as the post-auction dinner.
Many of the exhibitors do a bit of pre-auction marketing. They contact potential buyers in many ways — sending pictures of themselves with their animals, personal visits, and some bring a pie and/or cookies, with most sending cards as a reminder that they are exhibitors. Some of the marketing is clever.
We’ve watched the livestock and auction committee in action. They know what to do and they do it well. Many of the committee members have been volunteering for many years.
For years we have heard the livestock judges remark about the overall quality of the Blue Ribbon livestock. The Washington Fair livestock shows and auction have a statewide reputation because of the quality of the entries.
New buyers at the auction always are welcomed. Every auction has some first-time participants.
The livestock shows and auction are one of the main features of the Fair. The support given is remarkable.