Maine Fair Celebrates Country
The Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine, focuses on fun, farming and country living.
Often when we think of state or county fairs, we think of carnival rides, fast food and noisy events. Imagine, however, being transported back to a time when people lived close to the land and enjoyed activities such as nature hikes and pitching horseshoes. Now imagine that same setting with policies encouraging zero waste and clean air, vendors who serve organic foods, and plenty of opportunity for personal connections with local farmers and vendors.
No need to imagine – this fair actually exists in the form of the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine. The fair, in its 31st year, is hosted by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), an organization dedicated to preserving the environment by supporting organic growers and educating consumers on the benefits of locally grown, organic produce.
Each year the fair attracts nearly 50,000 visitors from around the United States and abroad to the rural town of Unity, and teaches them in a fun and exciting way just how good country living can be. In fact, what makes the fair so successful is the combination of education and fun experienced in a small-town, country atmosphere.
A mix of old and new
Fair Director Barbara Luce says organizing a fair was just a natural outcropping of MOFGA’s desire to teach Maine folks about organic practices. She says fairs were originally an educational experience and a way for homesteaders to learn about ways to be successful.
MOFGA has been able to stay true to that ideal and still keep up with today’s farming advances by offering everything from agricultural how-to demonstrations to exhibits on technological advances in sustainable energy and green building. Luce says that by joining the mission to educate with newer ideas of sustainability, the fair encompasses the best of both old and new.
Good country fun
Beyond simply educating fairgoers, the Common Ground Country Fair is just plain fun. Slogging through the mud on the rainiest day of the fair last year, the faces of children and adults alike glowed as they explored organic vegetables in the exhibition hall or ate a steaming bowl of soup.