Young Farmers club ending consignment sale
Another annual fundraiser that’s benefited the Oak Harbor area for more than 30 years will come to an end.
The Oak Harbor Young Farmers chapter decided at its December meeting to discontinue its annual consignment sale that has raised more than $180,000 – a majority of it for the Ottawa County Fair.
A press release issued by the club said the amount of work for the sale and a dispute with the fair’s board of directors over donations and the use of the county fairgrounds lead to the decision.
“The Young Farmers chapter wishes to thank the Oak Harbor community and Ottawa County for their run of consignment auctions, and for providing many dollars, which were donated back to their area in community service work,” the statement says, not elaborating on a dispute with the fair board.
The sale was held the first weekend in March for the past 36 years.
Its proceeds enabled the chapter to donate about $143,464 to many projects at the county fairgrounds, including bleacher seats, a hub rail at the racetrack, animal pens, concrete flooring, and a water system for the swine barn, a livestock ring for a show barn, as well as donations for an announcer’s stand, digital livestock scales, barn fans, and other improvements.
The club also donated nearly $18,000 to the Ottawa County Holiday Bureau, the Oak Harbor athletic and academic boosters, Oak Harbor Library, Riverview Auxiliary, the Benton-Carroll-Salem Food Pantry, scholarship funds, and other organizations.
The club intends to continue holding educational meetings and will have a bar-b-cue fundraiser in late February.
An email message left with the fair board’s website for comment wasn’t returned. Email and phone messages left with a club advisor at Oak Harbor High School also weren’t returned.
The Oak Harbor Young Farmer Wives also recently announced it had decided to end its activities.
Louis Damschroder, a former club advisor and its historian, attributed the decision to the members getting older and wanting to spend more time with their families.
Over a span of 35 years, the club had raised about $22,397 for many organizations. About $7,355 were donated to 4-H programs and improvements at the fairgrounds.
Last fall, the Ottawa County Harness Horsemen’s Association decided to no longer conduct the harness racing program at the fair, ending a 25-year affiliation with the fair.
An association officer said members were getting older and decided race preparations and related work took too much time – especially for one day of racing.
In years past, racing usually was a three-day event.
According to the fair’s board of directors, however, the harness association had decided to not continue with the program before there was a formal board vote to hold one day of racing.