Normally, I am an exceptionally prepared person but when I decided to head up to Unity for the last day of the Common Ground Country Fair I jumped into the car on a whim and with no supplies. We had just celebrated the first day of fall but the temperatures were rebelling and heading up towards the 90s. A few basics like sunscreen and water would have been helpful, but fortunately it didn’t ruin my first experience at the Common Ground Country Fair.
The Common Ground Country Fair is a sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and celebrates organic agriculture and rural life. This scouting trip gave me a basic overview of the event and will help me be better prepared next time I head back for hopefully a longer visit.
Here are ten things I learned at the Common Ground Country Fair:
- Come Prepared with Supplies. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association website has comprehensive fair information with important tips on how to have a healthy visit to the fair. It’s on the main page. It’s clear and concise. I will review it before my next trip. At the top of my list for next year are a water bottle, sunscreen, and a baseball hat. Fortunately, there were many drinking water stations setup throughout the fair.
- Bring a Reusable Shopping Bag. I keep a stack of reusable bags in my car so I always have them readily available. What I fail to do is take them out of the car to bring with me, so generally I arrive at my destination bag free. I realized I had repeated my long-standing tradition of forgetting them in my car only after going through the entrance gate to the fair. I contemplated heading back to get them, but my car wasn’t close and I had limited time. I made do with a brown paper shopping bag I got with my purchased rye flour although it was in tatters by the end. A combination of over filling it with purchases, and holding it with my sweaty hands, broke down the integrity of the bag and it had started to rip in a few places but fortunately I made it back to the car before a catastrophic breach.
- Understand the Layout. With my limited time, I was still able to visit most areas of the fair, although I might have passed over a few spots too quickly. As you walk through the entrance, they were handing out copies of the Autumn issue of the Maine Organic Farmer & Gardner with comprehensive information on the fair along with a schedule of events so you can plan out your visit. Overall, the fairgrounds were laid out like a wheel with spokes and a large common area in the middle. It made it easy to navigate.
- Bring a Good Camera. While my iPhone was serviceable, I saw many people with more elaborate cameras hanging from their necks. I understood why photographers would be drawn here after only a short time at the fair. Who doesn’t want pictures of adorable farm animals and delicious fresh veggies?
- Attend Some Educational Sessions. My short three-hour visit was barely enough time to fully walk the fair and did not leave enough extra time to attend any of the educational sessions scheduled throughout the day. There was an extensive range of sessions lined up for each day, covering many interesting topics. On my next trip, I hope I can join a few sessions.
- Take Cash & Small Bills. There were local vendors throughout the fair and ample shopping opportunities. With the advent of products like square it’s much easier to use credit cards at venues like this but, even so, there are always some smaller vendors that can only accept cash. You don’t want to miss out on that perfect souvenir.
- Come Hungry. There were so many fun, interesting food vendors to choose from and I was a little sad that I was only there during one meal. I ended up with a slice of brick oven pizza and ice water. Bottle water is not sold at the fair. The food was diverse and not your typical fair selections although there was organic funnel cake. Sadly, I was too full to try it even though I always get funnel cake at a fair. It gives me another reason to head back again next year. I need to try that funnel cake.
- Buy Tickets in Advance. Since this was a last-minute decision, I bought my ticket at the door which worked out fine but it was more expensive than buying them ahead of time. For this year’s fair, the cost was $15 at the door, or $10 in advance. Even better, join MOFGA and get free admission with your membership. Current membership rates are $40 for individuals and $60 for families.
- Prepare for Cuteness Overload. Entering through the Rose Gate, the first area I wandered to was the livestock area. This expansive space showcased everything from bunnies to oxen. One especially relaxed pig was taking a nap in his water trough.
- Plan for Traffic. Unity is a few hours from my home. It was an easy drive, mostly on the turnpike, but as you get closer to the fair it does start to get more congested. They’ve been running this fair for many years, so they were well setup and moving cars along incredibly efficiently. Even so, it was a bit slow going towards the end. It was congested as I was leaving too although at that point I was incredibly happy to be sitting in an air-conditioned car.
This was much too short a visit and impossible to truly see everything but it was a nice first exposure to the Common Ground Country Fair. It provided great incentive for me to head back again next year.
|things to know|
|Place||Common Ground Fair|
|Address||294 Crosby Brook Road, Unity, Maine|
|Website||Common Ground Country Fair|
|Favorite ♥||Local Food – All in One Place!|