The prolonged ban on gatherings because of Covid-19 has not only caused the cancellation of Riechmann’s Farm Equipment Auction in March, but also puts the August auction in jeopardy.
“We won’t have a sale unless we can legally have a thousand people, and I need eight weeks advance notice,” said auctioneer Loyd Riechmann.
Riechmann spends weeks taking consignments on the phone and placing advertisements. Employees at Riechmann Bros. John Deere place equipment in the Community Club Park two weeks before the event.
The auction that was initially postponed from its March 21 date was canceled last week.
Equipment that had filled the park in the weeks prior to the sale is being removed. What is not removed within two weeks will be placed on a field owned by Riechmann Bros., said Riechmann.
Some of the equipment in the park has already been sold, said Riechmann. He matched the owners with prospective buyers to work out their own deals. They are on the honor system to pay Riechmann Auction the commission, he said.
That income will only partially offset the thousands of dollars Riechmann Auction spent on advertising for the event that was canceled.
Loss To Community Club
The auction cancellation means a loss of major fund-raiser for the Community Club, which operates the food stand. The club typically makes $8,000 to $10,000, said Club President Roy Frederking. The volume of sales includes 340 pounds of bratwurst, 7 roasters of chili, 240 pounds of fish, 50 pounds of ham, 65 pounds of hotdogs, and 2,000 cans/bottles of soda/water.
The Community Club gave a total of $2,400 to organizations that worked at the food stand last year. Since the awards dinner scheduled for April has been canceled, checks were mailed to the organizations. The cancellation of the auction(s) could affect contributions made next year.
The May and August farm equipment auctions and the Wheat Festival are the three main sources of income for the Community Club, said Frederking.
April events at the Community Club are canceled/postponed, including household auctions, showers, and private parties.
Frederking said that he will monitor scheduling of other fairs in Illinois this year. The Okawville Fair and Wheat Festival has the advantage of being the last fair in the state, on September 18-20.