Fair auction sees another successful year
PLYMOUTH CO. — The 77th year of “The Best 5 Days of Summer” had great fair weather, according to Plymouth County Fair Board President Rich Benson.
The 2018 fair saw a new record attendance of 111,900 for the five days, Benson said. The 2017 fair saw 111,500 in attendance.
The annual fair auction Sunday afternoon saw a large crowd and spirited bidding for collectibles and chainsaw woodcarvings.
When it was all done, the auction netted the fair coffers a total of $28,030. While that topped the 2017 total of $27,340, it did not match the record of $33,050, set in 2016.
Before the auction started, Benson asked chainsaw artist Gary Keenan to come to the stage.
This is the first year that AJ Lutter was not at the fair carving.
Keenan said Lutter has been battling a blood disorder for 10 years and was not able to attend this year.
“AJ always said one of his two favorite fairs is Le Mars,” Keenan said. “Last year’s Le Mars fair was the last fair that AJ carved at.”
Keenan was assisted this year by local carver Scott Toben, who had two carvings on the auction.
Bruce Brock served as auctioneer for the sale, with fair board members working the crowd to take bids.
Taking honors for the highest bid at the auction again this year was a quilt assembled and donated by Geri Dreckman of Le Mars. The king size quilt, “Weeping Willow,” measures 110”x97” and is paper pieced.
The all cotton quilt was assembled and donated by Dreckman, with machine quilting done by Mary Roder of Merrill.
Dreckman said it took 250 hours to complete the quilt.
The Town & Country Toy Club’s belt buckles, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Plymouth County Farm Bureau, were first up on the auction. The No. 1 pewter buckle sold for $350, with the No. 2 pewter buckle going for $300.
The No. 1 colored buckle sold for $400, as did the No. 2 colored buckle.
There were two 10-gallon milk cans on the auction, both had some Wells Dairy markings. One sold for $60 and the other $170.
A 1991 Plymouth County Fair 50th year commemorative cup brought $100. It was donated by Dr. Mark Stelzer.
A ceramic Round Barn replica donated for the 100th anniversary of the Round Barn sold for $300.
Another unique item was a paned window from the fair’s Commercial Building. Grant Clever Clover 4-H Club members donated the window in appreciation of the fair board’s hard work and support to the 4-H’ers of Plymouth County.
This window featured photos of landmarks on the fairgrounds.
The window sold for $300.
This year marked the 19th year that Albert Schulz of the Le Mars Toy Store coordinated production of a Plymouth County Fair Truck. This year’s truck saluted the Plymouth County Beef Producers and the 4-H Pride of Iowa contest.
The No. 1 and No. 2 trucks each sold for $400.
The Plymouth County Pork Producers again donated a grilling event for up to 250 people. Pork Producer member Ben Johnson said the event must be used before the 2019 fair.
The winning bid on the grilling event was $2,000.
The chainsaw woodcarvings brought a total amount of $18,850 for the fair this year.
The carving, wood type, and top bid are as follows (all carvings are by Keenan unless otherwise noted):
Owls, walnut - $1,100
Tractor, walnut - $250
Holstein Hare, pine - $250
Raccoons, walnut - $1,000
Cardinal, red cedar - $700
Peacock, walnut (by artist Scott Toben) $300
Boots, walnut - $600
Howling Coyote, walnut - $1,100
Corn, red pine - $1,100
Fox, red cedar - $1,600
IH Logo, red cedar - $500
John Deere Logo, pine - $1,400
Eagle, walnut - $800
Bass and dragonfly, red cedar - $650
Pig and corn, red cedar - $3,000
Sitting bear, red cedar - $2,500
Hummingbird, walnut- $1,100
Small bull, red cedar (by Toben) - $900
Brock added a little rivalry in the auction by auctioning choice on the IH and John Deere logo carvings.
Members of the Plymouth County Fair royalty court assisted at the auction by displaying items.
All money raised at the fair auction will be used by the fair board for continued maintenance and improvements of the fairgrounds continue to provide “The Best 5 Days of Summer,” according to Benson.