By DOUG GRAVES
DAYTON, Ohio — While many 4-H clubs rely on the sale of candy, magazines or popcorn for funding, those in Montgomery County in Ohio let the voice of the people help raise the money. Those voices are the noisy shouts of bids during this annual 4-H auction.
“We’ve averaged between $9,500 and $10,000 a year since we started this 4-H auction in 2000,” said Montgomery County 4-H educator Betty Wingerter. “This event benefits all 20 different 4-H clubs in the county, and everything we raise goes directly to the program, with no administrative costs.”
The thought of selling edible goodies did cross the minds of many in the county, but they feared competing against those selling Girl Scout cookies would be detrimental to fundraising efforts.
“There are 500 members total in these 20 community 4-H clubs,” Wingerter said. “This is our only fundraiser. Even with this economy we’ve been able to reach our goal.”
Approximately 200 people attended this year’s event, which was in the Round House at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton earlier this month. Items bid on included stained glass bookends, decorative plants, furniture, homemade pies, hats, boots, county fair parking passes, Dayton Dragon baseball tickets, sterling silver necklaces and more. Raffles, door prizes and a silent auction that evening also contributed to the county’s 4-H fund.
“Some of our 4-H alumni have solicited business for items and certificates,” Wingerter said. “The business community and others came through for us in a big way, donating gift certificates, decorative plants and other nice items. The good thing is the kids didn’t have to go door-to-door selling candy, magazines or popcorn.”
Homemade clothing items and homemade pies were showcased, most garnering $50 apiece in the end. There was no shortage of hats, boots, dresses, shawls and stained glass items.
A fierce, but friendly, bidding war between a pair of Ohio State University and University of Michigan stained glass items helped boost the 4-H pot.
“More than $110,500 has been raised for Montgomery County 4-H with this event since we started in 2000,” Wingerter said. “And 4-H in our county is holding its own, growing by 25 members each year.
“4-H in our county is doing quite well, though we’re always short on volunteers.”