Each summer, on the third Saturday of July, the Milverton Amish communities organize a large auction to raise funds for their parochial schools. Hosted on Amish farms throughout the community, this year’s sale, held on July 20, was sprawled across a recently harvested hayfield on the Kuepfer farm north of Milverton.
Much like the Ontario Mennonite relief sale in nearby New Hamburg, the Amish school auction is attended by thousands of locals and province-wide visitors who come to bid on a wide array of items and enjoy the food. Local auctioneers sell everything from harnesses and horses to hand-crafted furniture, antiques and quilts. The large sale requires the involvement of hundreds of volunteers from the 10 Amish congregations in the area.
In the mid-1960s, as Ontario consolidated its public school system and closed local one-room schools, the Amish communities began to build and maintain their own schools. They have developed their own curriculum and pay their own teachers without any funding from the government. Since the development of these parochial schools, there has been an increased rate of retention of young people among Old Order groups.
Sprawled across a recently harvested hayfield on the Kuepfer farm, north of Milverton, Ont., the Amish school sale included lots of farm implements. (Photo by Se Yim)
The local Amish in their straw hats made up a big part of the crowd, but there were also lots of other bidders and onlookers. (Photo by Se Yim)