The Pledge of Allegiance and 4H pledge opened the livestock auction at the Carbon County Fair.

Mindy Graver presented awards for decorating the animals' stalls to Chelsea Eckhart, Randy and Ryanne Hoffman, and Sal and Mercedes Melo. The cleanliness awards went to Carissa Sevrin, Chelsea Eckhart and Brandon Smale.

The regular buyers each received a shirt saying "Proud to be a buyer." This year there were more new bidders than in previous years.

"Welcome to the livestock sale. You've heard it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a community to do this. It is the 100th year of 4H. We thank our supporters: Rep. Doyle Heffley, the Carbon County commissioners, the fair board of directors, auctioneer Tim Houser and his family, local businesses, the Penn State staff, and 4H leaders and their families," said Graver.

From the Department of Agriculture came Boots Hetherington, a special advisor to the governor for agriculture.

He said Carbon is a growing fair and doing well. It has added land and is now ranked as a Class A fair which brings in extra money from the state to help pay for premiums. The state fair fund received an increase this year. Future Farmers of America and 4H also got increased funding. The Conservation District is fully funded, said Hetherington.

He brought the welcome news that if a farmer makes 75 percent of his income from farming there will be no state inheritance tax.

He named Mark and Karen Green as the Fair Ambassadors for 2012. Mark said they wanted to do something special for the fair and made animal benches to be auctioned with proceeds going to the livestock club. These were the animals that were more likely to end up in front of a fireplace than on top of a stove. All materials for making the benches came from the Green farm.

Greens also sponsor the Farmer for a Day for young children at the fair.

Auctioneer Tim Houser said the crowd gets bigger every year, but he urged everyone to open their wallets a little bit wider in support of 4H. He said a man told Chester Snyder that he bought his lawn mower there because Snyder had bought his animals when he was in 4H.

"Keep the small, independent businesses alive", said Houser.

Three of the 4H'ers said they plan to become veterinarians. The pen of three rabbits, always a squirming armful, were displayed in cages this year.

During a break between selling the champion animals and reserve, two benches and two quilted wall hangings were auctioned, with two more of each after the reserves.

A "cow" bench sold for $135 to ABC Refrigeration and Cooling and a "pig" bench brought $200 from Walck's 4-wheel Drive - a new buyer.

The Best Days of Winter wall hanging by Kathy Long sold for $110 and was bought by Wayne Nothstein, county commissioner. A County Wide-State Wide hanging was bought for $260 by Never Done Farm. It depicted farm scenes.

At the second break a lamb bench sold for $260 to Pine Hill Lawn and Soil Services and the goat bench went for $410. A Penn State wall hanging sold for $210 to Herman Snyder Plumbing and Heating and a single panel Best Days of Winter sold for $180 to Bob and Alicia Silliman.

In honor of the 4H 100th anniversary the Bunny Busters were selling a Pennsylvania-made basket, better than Longenberger, said Houser.

The grand champion animals sold first with the buyer getting a picture taken with the animal, the person who exhibited it and a banner showing the placing and year.

Alyssa Wentz raised the champion market steer which had a market value - the price it would have brought if sold on the open market - of $1,262 and sold for $2,600 to Charles S. Snyder.

The dairy beef champion had a market value of $476 and brought $1,600 from Houser Auctioneers. It was exhibited by Molly Mertz in the absence of Felicia Mertz.

Alyssa Wentz also owned the champion swine. With a market value of $476, it brought $1,200 from Fred Reinhard. Corey Wentz accepted the banner.

The champion market goat was exhibited by Courtney Getz. It had a market value of $100 and brought $1,600 from Forest Inn Storage. Levi and Ricky Getz accepted the banner.

Alex Hawk's market lamb valued at $124.20 sold for $1,100 to Herman and Sylvia Snyder of Herman Snyder Plumbing and Heating, Houser responded to its baa-aa by saying it shouldn't worry. It will soon be lamb chops.

Dale's Concessions paid $250 for a pen of rabbits valued at $13.20. It was exhibited by Cade Miller.

Houser asked how Chelsea Eckhart kept her rooster so calm because he bought one and it was nasty. William Schwab and Associates paid $380 for the rooster and Mauch Chunk Bank and Trust Company bought the hen, exhibited by Alex Hawk, for $400.

The reserve animals are shown with the exhibitor, market value, high bid and buyer.

Market steer, Felicia Mertz, $1,296, $2,200 by Hill's Wildlife Taxidermy.

Dairy Beef, AJ Sevrin, $311.50, $1,400 by Randy Miller Dairy Farm.

Market swine, Ryanne Hoffman, $156, $960 by Gap View Farms.

The Hoffman swine came in at a run and knelt in a prayerful position. When it was time for its picture, it lay down.

Market goat, Tia Tyson, $100, $725 to Herman Snyder Plumbing and Heating.

Market lamb, Avery Keller, $117.90, $630 to Hometown Farmers Market.

Pen of rabbits, Liana Dages, $12.10, $300 by Seitz Bros. Exterminators

This was one of the first time buyers.

Rooster, Mercedes Melo, brought $260 from AB Construction Inc., another first time buyer.

Hen, Scott Heffelfinger, brought $430 from Forest Inn Masonry. Houser measured his height against Scott's 14-year-old height. He said he used to look down at the 4H'ers but now looks up to some of them.