Fairgrounds’ virtual livestock and Ag mechanics auction raises $475,000 | TheUnion.com

Fairgrounds’ virtual livestock and Ag mechanics auction raises $475,000

All 202 animal and project lots in the 2020 Nevada County Fair Online Junior Livestock and Ag Mechanics Auction, held this month, were sold.

In an email Wednesday, Nevada County Fairgrounds deputy manager Wendy Oaks wrote, “That’s something to celebrate!”

According to Oaks, approximately $475,000 was raised in the auction. This is a 35.4% decrease from last year’s record-setting $736,000 raised.

This is the first year that the auction has been held virtually, a decision made due to the cancellation of this year’s Nevada County Fair amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The new format came with some challenges, but fairgrounds staff had anticipated this and prepared to meet them, according to Oaks.

She said a group of fairgrounds staff and volunteers was at the fairgrounds phones ready to answer questions during the auction, which spanned from Aug. 13-15. The calls they received were primarily related to log-in information and help signing up.

“Once the auction was up and running, the buyers figured it out pretty quickly,” said Oaks. “Additionally, we were actively monitoring the auction from behind the scenes to make sure it was up and running the entire time.”

In a feature exclusive to this year’s online format, buyers were able to contribute financially to the exhibitors outside of bidding on an animal or project. They were given the option of donating to a specific exhibitor or adding to a community pool, which would be divided among them all. Combined, these methods totaled $141,150, according to Oaks.

She said the community pool donation was a major benefit to exhibitors, and was significant enough that it covered the 1% fee which financed the costs of the auction.

“The highlight (of the auction) is always the community and the exhibitors,” said Oaks. “We are also fortunate to live in a community with such an outstanding group of youth exhibitors, and we are thankful for their dedication to their livestock and Ag Mechanics projects, even as 2020 presented challenges that few could have imagined.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.

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