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Next Monday (8/16) will be the start of the Franklin County Fair. Exhibits will be on display in endless variety. Bottled fruit, quilts, flowers, artwork, bug collections, sheep, cattle, goats, swine, garden produce, baked goods, poultry, and rabbits will be put on show for all to enjoy.

My favorite part of the fair isn’t one single event or category. I enjoy best the sheer variety of it all. The Franklin County Fair is an experience more than an event. For one week, county residents present their hobbies, talents, and interests for all to appreciate.

Big events like Bull Bonanza and the Ninja Warrior Course are sure to entertain. Each evening you’ll also want to catch additional entertainment by local performers, pageants, horse contests, and more. Don’t forget the fair food. It’s sure to please whatever vendor you choose. Pick up a fair schedule at a local business. Enter an exhibit and share your unique talents. Join us at the fair as we celebrate the community we share.

There may be one event at the fair you’ve never participated in, maybe never understood. On Friday (8/20) at 4:30 p.m. in the indoor arena, the 4H/FFA Market Animal Sale will take place. This is the final event in a season long effort by the youth of Franklin County to care for and train a livestock animal of their choosing, be it lamb, beef, swine, or market goat.

Earlier in the week, each youth/livestock pair compete in two contests. First there is a fitness and showmanship contest where each pair is judged according to the showman’s ability to display their animal to the judge. Extensive training and working with their animal throughout the season is required to be successful in this contest. In a second contest, the animal itself is graded and ranked according to quality. Success in this contest is determined by breeding and how well the youth fed and cared for their animal.

In the Market Animal Sale, buyers bid on the animals of their choosing as the youth owner displays their livestock in the ring. There is a part of this process that, I believe, many do not understand. Buyers can be anyone or any business interested in supporting the 4H/FFA youth in their season-long project. The auction price in this sale is usually higher than the market value of the animal because buyers want to support the youth for working to raise an animal. Raising a successful fair animal takes much more time and money than raising a normal market animal.

The buyer, however, can purchase the animal and immediately sell it back to a floor buyer without ever taking possession of the animal itself. The floor buyer is already committed to buy all the market animals in the sale at the fair market price. The auction buyer only pays the difference between the floor (fair market) price and their winning bid.

Another huge benefit to purchasing an animal through the 4H/FFA Market Animal Sale is that some local meat processors have agreed to butcher all animals that go through this sale. So, should you choose to keep the animal you buy at the sale, rather than sell it back to the floor, it can go straight from the fair to the meat processor without you ever taking possession. You would then pay the full auction price, but you’d also get an immediate appointment to have your animal processed. If you tried to get your own animal butchered right now, there is roughly a two-year wait to get in.

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