4-H benefit auction returns this year

The Huntington County 4-H Benefit Auction returns this year, featuring a pork chop dinner and auction items ranging from a birdhouse to an aluminum livestock truck bed box.

The benefit auction will be held Saturday, March 21, at Heritage Hall in Hier's Park. The evening begins with a 5 p.m. meal starring the same smoked pork chops that are served each summer at the 4-H Fair, says Luke Vickrey, co-chairman of the benefit auction.

The auction begins at 6:30 p.m., following the meal.

One of the featured items at the auction is the chance to bid on sponsorships of livestock shows held during the 4-H Fair. Participants were first offered the opportunity to bid on those sponsorships two years ago. Successful bidders won the right to sponsor those shows for each of the last two years, Vickrey says, adding approximately $9,000 a year to the 4-H coffers.

This is the first time since the initial offering the sponsorships are up for bid, Vickrey says.

For the first time this year, participants can bid on sponsorships of Spirit Night and cleanup day.

"Spirit Night has the largest attendance and most kids involved of anything at the fair," Vickrey notes.

For cleanup day, sponsors will have their names on T-shirts that are handed out to 4-Hers assisting with the cleanup of the fairgrounds.

Livestock shows available for sponsorships are horse and pony, llama, dog, cat, dairy, poultry, goat, rabbit, swine, beef, rabbit, sheep and starter calf.

Show sponsors will be noted in 4-H flyers, advertising and show programs, Vickrey says, and can display a banner during the sponsored shows. All sponsorships are sold for a two-year period.

Items for the auction have been donated by area businesses, organizations and individuals and are still being accepted. Anyone who wants to make a contribution should call the Extension office at 358-4826.

Items already set for the auction block include a Wii video game system, donated by the Horse and Pony leaders; a Wii Fit platform, donated by the Blue Ribbon Riders; an autographed photo from Indianapolis Colts player Antoine Bethea; a skid steer rental for a day from Mcallister Machinery and delivery and pick-up of the skid steer from Stephan Trucking; a helicopter ride from Junior Geiger; a one-year membership, shooting vest and five rounds of trap shooting from Hillside Shooting Sports; and the aluminum livestock truck bed box from Tommy Wall of T.D.Wall, Inc.

The 4-H dog clubs have also tossed in their single axle box trailer, previously used to store club equipment. The club has outgrown the trailer, Vickrey notes.

The dinner auction, held every two years, brought in nearly $30,000 two years ago to help fund the Huntington County 4-H Fair, says Vickrey. Total expenses for the fair itself reach approximately $111,000 each year, adds Extension Educator Linda Aldridge, who is responsible for coordinating the 4-H fair.

Proceeds from the benefit auction will be used for 4-H building improvements at Hier's Park.

Tickets for the March 21 event will be available at the door.