MC Junior Fair first online sale successful

MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Agriculture Society said this year’s online sale was a success after scrapping the in-person live junior fair sale due to state restriction for COVID-19.

Nick Shellenberger, president of the MCAS, said the online-only sale had 500 buyers and raised $213,000 for 474 FFA and 4-H members registered for the sale. The sale was open from Aug. 19 through Aug. 28. This year’s sale also featured non-livestock exhibitors such as horse projects, breeding stock, and dairy exhibitors.

Shellenberger said last year’s sale had 483 registered buyers. He said feedback was positive from both the buyers and the majority of families.

“We had got a lot of positive feedback from businesses and individuals who really enjoyed doing these add-ons this way,” Shellenberger said. “It did shock me that businesses hope we don’t go away from this, but there were some that said they do like seeing the kids walk in the ring — there was definitely a split feeling.”

The online auction also featured a general fund that was able to place approximately $75 per exhibitor for those who had low or no bids on their projects. Shellenberger said other feedback from the online sale included a mixed feeling on the amount each exhibitor had received to which some benefited and others felt detracted from the overall support. Shellenberger said they did inquire if the dollars raised could be anonymous, but the online auction site ShoWorks Auction said it was not able to hide the amount raised. Shellenberger said that situation is a “catch-22” but added the feature was also a way some businesses shared that it helped them decide on who to support.

“We had some people ask about it and we had businesses who appreciated seeing that so they could spread their money to more kids if they saw a kid was behind and they were able to help those kids out more,” Shellenberger said. “There were businesses who shared that’s how they donated was to those who needed the help and that’s where they put their money.”

Shellenberger also said the support from the community was appreciated, with several businesses reaching out to them to see how they can help next year.

He said food vendors also expressed their support and decided to brave the unknowns and open up their stands. Shellenberger said a handful of vendors left donations to the junior fair after the successful week of sales.

Shellenberger said this year’s junior fair members stepped up to all the challenges and were hands-on in the show ring and on the grounds for this year’s scaled-down events. He also said many fair-goers told him it was a relaxing atmosphere with smaller crowds and events spread out on the grounds.

Shellenberger said all the feedback will be used to plan for the 2021 fair in a mix of tradition and ideas from the 4-H-only fair last month.

MCAS FOOD TRUCK RALLY CANCELLED

Shellenberger said the Miami County Agriculture Society had to cancel their September food truck rally due to state-mandated restrictions on crowds and COVID-19 spread.

Shellenberger said the Miami County Public Health officials deemed the food truck rally a festival and would not be permitted.

Shellenberger said the group decided to forge ahead with planning the annual rally for next spring. The annual Food Truck Rally will be held on the fairgrounds on May 22, 2021.