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Common Ground Country Fair celebrates rural living

The Common Ground Country Fair has returned to Unity, Maine for the 46th time, bringing with it local vendors, activities, and educational opportunities to celebrate organic agriculture. With over a thousand exhibitors present, this country fair provides a chance for people all around Maine to get a first-hand look at how agriculture is connected to healthy environments and sustainable living.

An expected 60,000 guests arrived to the fair on Saturday, Sep.  25 and Sunday, Sep. 26. The fair brought in all members of the community, includes they were guests, volunteers, or vendors. In an interview with the news network WABI5, the director of the fair, April Boucher, said, “It’s a great way to come out, learn something, see people, and just get reinvigorated and reacquainted with the community, after so long”.

There were many educational opportunities available to those who are seasoned gardeners or simply just interested in learning. Demonstrations covered a large range of topics, from herb preservation to sustainable forestry practices to fabric spinning.

Another fixture of the fair is livestock. The fair presented livestock shows with exciting performances includes the Donkey and Mule Show and the Draft Horse Show. The sheep dog demonstrations are especially notable to watch. John Simmons, owner of Stoneheart Farm in South Paris, Maine, brings his border collies to the fair and exhibits their expert ability to herd different livestock.

The fair also has a vibrant shopping scene with products from several local vendors. From local agricultural goods to farming equipment, there is a wide variety of products offered to all audiences. Local farms sell their homemade products from soaps to fibers to organic meals. Leading suppliers in sustainability also come to show their technologies in creating and maintaining energy efficient buildings.

Not only are there goods from outside vendors, the fair itself has its own merchandise that seems to have built its own cult following. The Common Ground shirt has been turned into a connection between fans of the fair. With a different design every year, lines form to get the new edition at each fair.

“As we get closer and closer to the event, people start wearing their shirts. You’ll see them out at the co-op. You’ll see them potentially at the DMV and it strikes up a conversation like, oh, I learned how to save my own seeds or oh, did you try that?” Boucher said.

More than an exciting yearly event, the fair is a source of connection and pride for the community.

~ Vivian Nguyen `25

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