18 responses to Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society
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    Al in Ky.
    Comment on Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society (May 6th, 2011 at 04:07)

    This reminded me of some of the Amish auctioneers at Dinky’s
    Auction Center near Montgomery, Indiana in Daviess County. There
    is a huge auction there almost every Friday night of the year.
    Hundreds of people attend each auction. There are as many as
    ten auction rings selling guns, dishes, pigs, chickens, produce,
    etc. There are several Amish auctioneers as well as non-Amish.
    One thing that is very interesting in observing the Amish auctioneers is that they seem to know the general auction value
    of many things Amish people in their community would never use.
    If you are ever in the western Indiana, eastern Illinois, north
    central Kentucky area, it is well worth the extra miles to attend
    an auction at Dinky’s to get a new experience of Amish life.
    There is always a group selling lots of good food to eat — most
    groups are Amish churches or schools.
    On another point — were the women riding horseback in the video
    Amish women? Their clothing looked more like Old Order or
    conservative Mennonite. I

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    Comment on Bilingual auction (May 6th, 2011 at 05:29)

    Bilingual auction

    Al ditto on Dinky’s. I remember how popular it was among Amish from my time in Daviess County. The place to be on Friday nights.

    Interesting observation on Amish auctioneers knowing values of non-Amish goods. And on that point it’s clear that Willis is very tuned in to his diverse customers and crowds.

    I liked the part where he demonstrates how he can simultaneously auction chant in English and Pennsylvania Dutch. This is really a talent and I also think it takes a certain personality type. Obviously Willis is not crowd or camera-shy!

    Good observation on the women on horseback (and funny that we just had this topic). No those were not Amish women and by the patterned dresses probably a Plain Mennonite group.

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    Comment on elliha.blogspot.com (May 6th, 2011 at 06:24)


    What a lovely clip! Is he old order Amish? I mean, don’t most Amish shy away from appearing on the screen like this? The clips I have seen of Amish people have been when they have talked sitting in the dark or only filmed with their face not shown. Well, he seems like such a lovely person and I liked hearing him talk about his life and his job.

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    Comment on Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society (May 6th, 2011 at 06:46)

    Interestingly the Kalona Iowa Old Order Amish don’t allow their members to be auctioneers. We had several young Amish men in the community who had great calls and were highly sought after as auctioneers and the church leaders put a stop to their auctioning.

    Thanks for sharing a great piece.

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    Comment on Update from thursdays post: Leacock quarry. (May 6th, 2011 at 06:50)

    Update from thursdays post: Leacock quarry.

    Just a quick update on thursday post from Lancaster online:
    Those for or against the expansion of a quarry in Upper Leacock Township will have to wait at least until next month for an answer.

    The township’s board of supervisors voted 2 to 1 to table a request by Talmage Partners of Malvern to rezone 59 acres immediately south of the existing 70-acre quarry from agriculture to quarry. The land is currently farmland. Richard. www.Amishstorys.com

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    Karen Lange
    Comment on Interesting (May 6th, 2011 at 08:44)


    Thanks for posting this! I found it interesting and informative.

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    Bob Rosier
    Comment on Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society (May 6th, 2011 at 11:14)

    Very interesting….thanks for posting. There was an auction in the Big Valley a few weeks ago when I was there (Wednesday at Belleville). They probably have it every Wednesday. Plan a trip if you have never been…..lovely country.

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    Comment on Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society (May 6th, 2011 at 11:41)

    I liked the video it was amazing how he did it in english and german at the same time

  • Glad everyone is enjoying this. It is a longer clip but I think quite well-done. Lot of good info in there about auctions in general.

    Willis does not seem typical when talking about winning the state auctioneer’s championship, and also the comment at the end along the lines of being proud also seemed quite un-Amish. I think he would get some criticism for that. Not to mention it’s not common for this kind of an on-camera, “full-frontal” interview to happen. It’s not surprising that auctioneers would be among the most progressive since they deal with the public very often.

    Elin, he is a horse-and-buggy, plain clothes wearing Amishman, but to be honest I am not sure if he is Old Order or New Order…The community I believe is Clare, home of a well-known large auction.

    Lowell that is interesting about Kalona. Especially since they are fairly progressive on other matters like technology.

    Bob I saw you had mentioned that auction…sounds like you went at the right time. I’ve seen Big Valley in winter and summer and don’t know which visit I enjoyed more.

    Richard thanks for sharing the result on the quarry issue. The comments on that post have been great.

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      Comment on Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society (October 10th, 2013 at 07:43)

      I live near the Clare Amish community and they are New Order. Much more progressive than the Old Order communities in Stanwood and Blanchard areas south of us. Myself and my family are not Amish, but have many friends that are. We love the community and the lifestyle.

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    Comment on Bilingual (May 6th, 2011 at 18:04)


    His simultaneous bilingual auctioneering is amazing! There is no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than at an auction!

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    Kathy Rowe
    Comment on Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society (May 6th, 2011 at 19:14)

    Very interesting video, Erik. It would be an experience to attend one of his auctions and listen to him in both languages. You always have such good topics!

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      Comment on Following a dream (May 9th, 2011 at 10:24)

      Following a dream

      Kathy, it makes me really glad to know you think so. The humble Amish answer would be that it’s not me but the material I’m working with. So I’m going to go with that one 🙂

      Willis is a pretty remarkable and talented fellow. What I liked is that you can really see he enjoys what he does.

      Also, he talks about following a dream–which sort of dispels the idea that Amish are universally pigeonholed into little compartments and occupations.

      True, choices are more limited, but when you grow up in an Amish environment, I think it’s more likely you’ll develop a passion for things you know–like auctioning, or welding, or fabrics–rather than things you don’t.

      So you are likely to lack interest in those choices lying outside your realm, really rendering the fact of whether or not you can pursue them irrelevant.

      It’s the same reason I have zero passion for Asian cooking, sculpting, or tinkering on engines.

      Well, I did grow up in a family of accountants, but that just goes to show you you don’t always absorb the passions of those around you 🙂

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    Comment on Amish Auctions (May 6th, 2011 at 22:12)

    Amish Auctions

    I have had the pleasure of attending auctions in Strasburg PA during quilting and mud sales. I would specify for my employer the days and times and take off for the same. I was never disappointed. Yes, you find yourself in a sea of Amish and yes, you get caught up with a good auctioneer. I have been at them when they were 10 to 20 below zero and some not as cold. Great stuff was had; and having been to them, I was able to establish through contacts a relationship with one fellow who was able to secure for me, through an auction, a beloved quilt awaiting a proper quilt hangar, as it remains folded in a box in my closet. There are ways to find out when auctions are held, and for those who’ve never been, I can’t recommend more highly a more enjoyable activity in which one can spend a day and empty a bank account.

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    Comment on Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society (May 6th, 2011 at 22:22)

    I admire auctioneers. This guy seems rather neat, and the story where he was asked by his elders, community and family to do his job without a speaker system, wow. I can’t imagine that being done without a speaker system. But like he said, they have been doing auctions for centuries and before the modern era people probably did that sort of calling without speaker systems, sometimes I would imagine with bull horns or whatever.
    Very neat, I admire mister Yoder for what he does and how he is able to keep the integrity of his faith too.

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    Comment on Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society (May 9th, 2011 at 10:17)

    When I’m in Homerville, Ohio, I always go to the auction. There, they have English auctioneers even though it is the Amish who selling their products.

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    Comment on Amish auctioneers: the performers of Plain society (October 10th, 2013 at 07:45)

    I live near the Clare Amish community and they are New Order. Much more progressive than the southern Stanwood and Blanchard communities. We are not Amish ourselves, but have many friends who are. We love the community and the lifestyle.

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