Common Ground Fair

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Ken Anderson, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    One thing that my wife and I look forward to each year is the Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine. Put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), the fair is free to members, of which we are.

    In some respects, it's sort of a hippie thing, so we go into the political tents for amusement purposes only, since they are dominated by the most leftist bunch of wackos that you might ever come across. But there are usually only one or two political tents, making up a very small percentage of the fair.

    The Common Ground Fair is quite large, and it includes workshops on pretty much every issue having to do with farming or gardening, particularly from an organic perspective, as well as alternative housing, forestry, etc. Vendors are there with displays and information, and there are exhibits of all sorts, as well as music and other stuff.

    One day of it is enough for us, but it goes on for three days. We get a room in the area the night before, then go early in the morning on the second day, which is when most of the stuff is going on, given the first day involves some setup before everything is in place, and some areas close up early on the last day.

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  2. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    It would be nice to visit that Common Ground Fair. We would definitely appreciate seeing those exhibits.

    Do you know that we sometimes go to a plant nursery just to browse on their products? They have those seedlings in plastic bags. Some small trees that are grafted are fruiting and so tempting to buy. But since we have no more space for trees, all we could do was appreciate by taking pictures of their plants and trees.

    There is a flea market here every Sunday where they sell not only food stuff but also plants and trees. That is where we bought one of our lemon trees that the vendor said is an American lemon but it turned out to be lime, huh. A few months back, we bought the grape vine there and is now having long stems. The vendor said it is seedless but I don't believe. The last time we went to that flea market was when we bought potting material for $1 per big plastic bag.
     
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  3. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    We have County Fairs in my area that will be starting soon. They are always fun to go, I plan to pick up some plants this year for the yard. I don't go every year. I like to get the food that is presented at the fair like the kettle popcorn.
     
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  4. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I love fairs like that. My favorite is when they have animals, and things such as shearing, and spinning. I'd love to be able to get into that, but of course, everything costs money and takes time. It sounds like a great place to learn about various techniques that work in the area, new ways of doing things, and what has worked for others.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    In a few moments, we'll be off to the Common Ground Fair. It's not a huge trip but it's a few hours south of us, so we'll be getting a hotel room tonight, attending the fair tomorrow and, from there, I don't remember if we'll be spending another night in a hotel or coming straight home from the fair. My wife makes those plans and, although she tells me, I don't always remember.

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  6. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  7. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Have fun at the fair, @Ken Anderson Hope you bring back some interesting stories and pictures to share with us!
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I didn't take a lot of pictures, but here are a few. Neither my wife or I enjoyed this year's Common Ground Fair as much as we usually do, but it might have more to do with us than with MOFGA. The Common Ground Fair is very large, and spread out over a large area. There are also a lot of people there. This year, we were both in pain walking around the park. I know there were things that I wanted to see that I didn't want to have to walk to, and there were workshops that I would have participated in if there had been a place to sit. It didn't seem to be as well organized, in that none of the volunteer staff seemed to know anymore about anything than we did, so there was nowhere to go for directions or assistance. The shuttle drivers didn't even know that names of the gates that they were shuttling people to, and the people doing the parking didn't know the names of the parking lots they were directing people to. From the time that we decided to leave (2:00 pm), it was more than two and a half hours before we finally got to our car. Although they had a shuttle running between two of the gates, the drivers didn't know which gates they were, and neither of them turned out to be the one where we had come in, and despite the fact that we found later that there was a shuttle leading to our gate, no one could tell us where we could pick this shuttle up; instead, they directed us to the one that didn't go there. Once we found our (very large) parking lot, it took well over an hour of walking before we could find our car since there were no landmarks to speak of, and the aisles weren't labeled in any way.

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    This is my wife standing by the sign as we entered the fairgrounds, while we were still in good humor.

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  9. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    You have a great map of the fairgrounds, Ken! Was that no help?
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    The map didn't show the parking lots, or the roads outside the park that the shuttles ran on.
     
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  11. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    Interesting coverage of the event, Ken. I can understand your concerns. It looks like, from your last photo, that it was too spread out…thus making it difficult for those who have difficulty walking. Next year they need to put the tents closer together even though they have enough land to spread out.

    Of course, like you mentioned, the parking accessibility needs major attention before next years plan. The fair is a wonderful concept in theory though, focusing on all things organic. You would think, the 39th year of doing this, that these kinks would have been worked out. Perhaps write a letter to voice your concerns?

    PS…I can envision Hot Air Balloon rides in the middle of everything. It's such a beautiful blue sky and wide open space...it would just be pretty wouldn't it.

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    The grounds of the Common Ground Fair are used year-round, belonging to the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association, so it includes a lot permanent features, such as demonstration plots, and a lot of the open spaces are used at various times for space-intensive programs or exhibits. The tents are the temporary structures put up by businesses, organizations, and individuals from all over Maine and elsewhere in New England, as well as organizations from other places, such as some Utah political group wanting to take even more land away from private citizens and give it to the government. In order to get space there, you have to reserve it a couple of years in advance, so some of these organizations and businesses aren't even around anymore by the time it comes around, so that leaves some empty spaces.

    I probably wouldn't have noticed some of the difficulties we experience this year if I wasn't hurting, but I think that it was better organized in previous years. We go every year, sometimes for a couple of days,
     
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  13. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    It does look interesting, educational, and fun. You were lucky to have such nice weather…now that would have really dampened your spirits. Maine has beautiful blue skies I see.
     
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  14. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    It's a shame it was so poorly organized. I wonder if someone new was in charge of logistics? I had a job one summer organizing ethnic festivals for the city, and it was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. The festivals were short events. It's been so long I can't even remember if they were one day or two, but it took a lot to coordinate them, and each was in a different part of the city. If I could do that, you'd think a large organization could coordinate this event you attended in a more cohesive fashion. I agree, everything appears very spread out, and the parking situation sounds like a nightmare.
     
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  15. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    We went to the Common Ground Fair today. For those of you who don't know about the Common Ground Fair, it's put on by the Maine Organic Farmers & Growers Association, which is not a bad thing in itself.

    But the Common Ground Fair is filled with leftists and, since they're no longer allowed to put freaks on display in carnivals, they sell them tickets to the Common Ground Fair.

    The Common Ground Fair hosts two political action tents, and you won't find anything to the right of Che Guevara in either of those tents.

    So I didn't go in any of those tents this year.

    However, while I was waiting for Michelle, as she was sitting through a lecture on sauerkraut or something, I went looking for a cool place to sit down. The sauerkraut lecture was standing room only and I was too sore to stand.

    I found the herbal tent. It was a very large tent, with room for a lot of people, but only about twenty people were there, mostly fiddling around with their phones.

    I sat down. I wasn't planning on listening to the lecture or anything but then I heard her (the young woman who was giving the lecture) talking about eating her placenta.

    Eating your placenta is "good for your psyche," according to the young lecturer in the herbal tent. It also has "all sorts of beneficial nutrients," she said.

    I was sold. I thought about raising my hand to ask where I could buy one. But I'm shy, so I just sat there, listening a little more carefully though, trying to figure out what placentas had to do with anything herbal.

    She rambled a bit. She lectured us on breast feeding, the evils of war, Trump, and the oppression of women.

    My mind wandered. Then I heard her talking about liver, onions, and kale. Maybe the placenta was the appetizer, but she never tied them together in a way that I could understand.

    From there, she went on to talk about eating horse tails. Somewhere in my mind, I think I remembered hearing something of some plant or another that was known as a horse tail but then, this is a woman who eats placentas, so she might have been talking about eating an actual horse's tail. I'm thinking it might be good for the psyche.

    That was enough. I went looking for the marijuana tent. Surely they have a marijuana tent.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  16. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Did you write that @Ken Anderson ....it was hilarious. Just asking because it's not your style but I like it.

    Also I'm not saying that other things you write aren't entertaining but I really liked this.

    I feel I'm digging myself into a hole here with my comment but..oh well. :)
     
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  17. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Yeah, that was me. All true, other than the marijuana tent. - and of course, I wasn't actually sold on eating placentas. That girl was nuts. She may have killed the actual lecturer, and took her place.
     
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  18. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    I replied to your marijuana tent on your FB post but I'll say it here too. If y'all keep going every year soon there probably will be a marijuana tent. :)
     
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  19. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Well I really enjoyed reading that, you should write more pieces like that. :)

    I'm a tough critic, I get bored easily but I would have read a lot more on that one.
     
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  20. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    @Ken Anderson , that is a tongue in cheek post, isn't it? She didn't really talk about eating her placenta?
     
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  21. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Oh no, everything I said that she said, she said. The only thing facetious was that I wasn't sold on the idea, and I wasn't really looking for the marijuana tent.
     
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  22. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    I'm just sitting here shaking my head. Did she seem to be OK except for being nuts?
     
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  23. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I wasn't there for the beginning and didn't start paying attention at all until she came up with the placentas, but that was pretty soon after I got there. She was rambling. She seemed crazy, but people have to be either very good or pay a lot to get a speaking spot at the Common Ground Fair.
     
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  24. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    She must be rich, then. Rich people aren't nuts, they are eccentric.:D
     
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  25. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    It sounds like she's one of those Naturalists...taking it to the extreme! :D
     
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