We spent the morning today at the Casey County Benefit Auction (the 14th annual). Run by the local Mennonite community, to help a family with medical expenses or in other insurmountable need, the day-long auction includes all manner of vehicles, farm tools, household goods, plants and livestock (Bertha over at the Cupcakes would have gone crazy with all of those chickens!).
There was also an excellent bake sale, chicken barbecue and soft vanilla ice cream churned by a horse on a treadmill (imagine if they had such a thing for humans ~ we could earn our ice cream by burning it off first). Probably one of the most bizarre contraptions I've seen--but just as humane as having a horse pull a plow, I suppose.
The auction was held at the corner of interstate route 127 (famous for its huge yard sale the first week of August each year) and state route 501, the road into the heart of the Mennonite community in Casey County, Kentucky. It is a small but prosperous community with several businesses and is what brought us to the area for the first time two years ago (that and the Bread of Life Café, run by the Galilean Children's Home). Fortunately, it is not touristy and kitschy like Holmes County, Ohio and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania have become. We shop regularly at all of these businesses and it certainly beats having to drive into Somerset to deal with traffic and big box stores.
The best part for us--we did not bid on any animals because we are still not set up to have them (next year!)--was just milling around enjoying the atmosphere and seeing many people that we've met or befriended, do business with, and are beginning to know. It made us feel all the more a part of things which is always a good feeling to have in a new place.
The bake sale was packed with pies, breads, cakes, whoopie pies (oatmeal and chocolate) and these lovely little mini-pies, which, at 60 cents were a steal, I thought (so I wouldn't take any change). I have only tried a butterscotch but it was melt-in-your mouth. We also got apricot, apple, and lemon (and a larger cherry pie). Temple picked out a sponge cake (which came on its own plate to keep!) and some whoopie pies. The chicken just fell off the bone and made a great early lunch. The kids loved the ice cream, too.
We were also glad to learn, quietly, that one of our friends, who has suffered medical hardship, and his family will be the recipients of the proceeds this year. The Amish and Mennonite communities pull together to help their own in times of need and that was gratifying to see in action. While there are some old order Amish around, mostly Mennonites have settled in Casey County. Their clothes are a bit less plain: different hats, no beards for married men, and more jolly prints and colors for the women's dresses.
You will note that I have discreetly photographed a few gatherings of Mennonite people. Out of respect to them I did my best to conceal their identities.