The Union Fair Youth Market Auction is scheduled to take place for its third time at the Union Fair Monday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. (6:30 p.m. Buyers’ Reception). The live auction is a sale in which youth who have spent the summer raising market steers and lambs sell their animals to private buyers and local restaurants throughout Maine.

The auction is a great place for private buyers and restaurant owners to purchase well-raised local meat (and, as a new addition, laying hens). All animals sold at the auction are the product of hardworking youth who work all year to make sure their animals have the best lives possible, and to learn from the experience. Many of the youth will put all proceeds from their sales into college funds. Some buyers at the auction donate animals they purchase to charity — a great way to support the community!

Lauren Jellison, chef and owner of Fox On The Run food truck, bought a lamb at last year's auction and plans to return again this year. Lauren commented, "After purchasing a lamb from the youth auction, I was able to supply my customers with a superior farm-to-table product, along with the knowledge that they are supporting a cycle of learning, responsibility, and growth."

“To these kids it’s more than just an auction. For many it’s their first experience in true ownership, and with that comes lessons in responsibility, respect, time-management and work ethic,” said Heidi Baker, the manager of the Auction. “It’s our job as a community to make sure that their hard work pays off. By buying an animal in the auction you are not only buying excellent local meat, you are telling these kids that their efforts have paid off (literally and figuratively!)” Heidi is also the Herd Manager at Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Aldermere Farm in Rockport and leads the Aldermere Achievers 4-H club which always has many club members participating in the auction each year.

This is the third consecutive year the auction has taken place at the Union Fair. It has grown in size dramatically since its beginning, with more youth and more buyers attending every year. The day before the sale, on Aug. 21, at 4 p.m., a market show is held where buyers can come and watch the animals be judged. It is a great way for buyers to get a good look at the animals up close and hear what the judge has to say about each animal. For those unable to attend the show, there is a buyer’s reception prior to the auction Monday night at 6:30 p.m. to meet the kids and their animals.