It's been a few years since Erin Beetstra last participated in the 4-H auction at the McHenry County Fair, and while watching the youngsters parade their goats, steers, pigs and poultry around the Hansen Pavilion on Saturday, the 22-year-old Harvard resident recalled those old days.
"I used to show steer and now I am reliving old memories," Erin Beetstra said. "The kids work really hard. I used all of the money to pay for college without any loans."
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Erin Beetstra and her mother, Amy Beetstra, paid $7 per pound for a 120-pound goat shown by Austin Gratz, 12, of Harvard.
"We'll donate it to the Harvard Food Pantry," Amy Beetstra said. "It's just fun."
Amy Beetstra said she also had her eye on a pig later on in the auction.
"We'll keep the bacon," she said with a laugh.
The auction was a success for Austin, who has had lambs at the fair for the past three years. He sold two lambs on Saturday for a total of $1,330.
"I raised them from babies with my grandfather," Austin said. "It's fun to see them grow up and then see how they do at the fair."
White pieces of paper shot into the air as auctioneer Gordon Stade rattled off prices at high speed. The auction crew often struggled to keep up with bidders signaling from around the pavilion.
One of the biggest auction prizes for the day was a 1,400-pound steer that sold for $2.90 per pound, or $4,060.
The fair, which wraps up Sunday, features grandstand entertainment, including live music, a demolition derby, antique tractor parade and a rooster crowing contest.
Admission is $7 per day and children under 7 years are allowed at no charge. The cost is $3 for children ages 8 years to 12 years and senior citizens.