Articles on Amish auctions are fairly common this time of year. I found this one on the Clearview School Quilt & Consignment Auction (Green County, WI) more interesting than most. Here are 3 things from this auction that jumped out at me:

1. Food Out Of An Amish School Window – Food is not the main purpose of an Amish auction, but it is a big part of it. And for non-bidders, the food may be as big a draw as anything (this includes the baked goods and hundreds of pies for sale).

The folks at the Clearview School auction use the schoolhouse window to dish out food to hungry attendees.

I had not seen this before, but why not? Especially at a school benefit auction, a “walk-up” window to collect your food makes a lot of sense. Here’s a photo from the Wisconsin State Farmer article showing the window in action (article and all photos by John Oncken):

All images by John Oncken/Wisconsin State Farmer

I can’t make everything out on that menu, but I do see “hamburger”, “hot dog”, “coffee” and I think “ham and cheese.” Looks like the basics are covered.

2. A Moving Auctioneer “Box” – Amish auctions typically have multiple auctions going on at one time. Similar items are grouped together and sold.

The Clearview School Auction had three main events – a quilt auction (the largest), a furniture auction (pictured below), and a “stuff” auction. The “stuff” in this case is a grab bag of items laid out in rows.

In order to efficiently sell the rows of goods, the auctioneer is moved up and down the rows in a “box” in the back of a pickup truck. This works well since many of these items are larger pieces (farm equipment, etc.) which are not so movable, so the auctioneer does the moving.

3. “Horsemade” Ice Cream – At this auction, Amishman Rudy Detweiler’s 20-year-old horse drives the ice cream maker:

The horse, walking in a circle, powers a mixing contraption that replaced an old engine some years ago. “I made the mixer from the gears of a horse-drawn hay mower,” Rudy says with rightful pride. “And, no, the horse isn’t working too hard, like some city folks might think—this is a lot easier than pulling a hay wagon.”

And the ice cream this method produces is a hit – as one person said, ““It’s ice cream like it was—no additives, full fat, no air—and still should be.” Here’s what it looks like:

You’re not guaranteed to see these things at an Amish auction, but don’t be surprised if you do. It’s little details like these that make attending an Amish auction a lot of fun.

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