Friday, May 24, 2013
UNITY -- Volunteers are busy weeding, answering phones, erecting billowing tents and laying electrical cable for the least common fair of the season.
OLD TIME FAIR: Volunteers Joanna Pash, left, Michelle Hansen and Sally Jaskold work around the granite sundial at the Common Ground Country Fairground in Unity as vendors erect tents for the 34th annual three-day fair that begins Friday.
Staff photo by David Leaming
Hundreds have prepared for the 34th annual Common Ground Country Fair that starts this Friday and is sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
Don't expect any carnival rides, games of chance, heavy-metal music or doughboys. Instead there will be 700 unique events featuring education, demonstrations, hands-on experience, lectures, crafts and a dizzying amount of organic foods and desserts, according to fair director Jim Ahearne.
He said the site is busy as vendors set up their tents for the 55,000 people expected at the three-day fair.
Looking out over the quiet fields Monday, Ahearne said, "This will change quickly," referring to the crowds expected on opening day. "Things are going great."
Low-impact forestry, developing less toxic fertilizers and other agriculture products, seed production, safety regulations, promoting alternative energy systems, investment opportunities for farmers, and organic farming successes are some of the topics that will be offered in workshops and lectures.
Fairgoers can visit a poultry barn, watch sheep dog trials and horse-driven farming, blacksmithing, basket and canoe making, health and healing lectures, even a daily and popular manure-tossing event.
"Our mission is to share ideas and experience and be accessible to the public," Ahearne said.
New this year is an online fair schedule, available at www.mofga.org, he said.
He said car pooling and arriving early will help with traffic congestion. There is also a $2 admission discount for people riding the train from Thorndike or Unity; bicyclists also receive a $2 discount.
Admission is $10 per day for people 13- 64 and $8 for anyone 65 and older. Association members, children under 12, and some others are free. On Friday, k-12 students and school groups are free. The fairgrounds can be reached from both ends of Crosby Brook Road.
David Leaming -- 861-9255