Three Days at the Fair, Part One

It’s Sunday morning of the Common Ground Country Fair (CGCF) weekend.  And the house is quiet for the first time all weekend.  Everyone has left for the fairgrounds early but I won’t need to leave for a few more minutes.  So I thought I’d catch you up on the goings on.  Or at least my little piece of this giant and amazing annual event.  For those who don’t know the CGCF is the   Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) Celebration of Rural Living.  Also their largest fundraiser of the year.   Over the three days of the fair up to 60,000 people from all over the state, the country and the world arrive in my little corner of the world to talk about everything from compost to politics. (sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference.)  For me it is the best holiday of the year.   It usually falls near the Autumnal Equinox (Mabon for my fellow pagans).  I use it to help me transition into a slower pace of life as the harvest is winding down and I begin to settle in for the long winter ahead.  These three days are anything but mellow, however.

Here was my schedule for Friday:

I started by setting up and “table sitting” the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee table.  Long name for a very small committee that does a lot of great work with two agricultural organizations in El Salvador.  Because, face it, small farmers have the same problems all over the world.  So we collaborate, share ideas, problem solving methods, organizing tips and just the general folk wisdom that comes with being a farmer.

Next I moved over to the booth set up by my friend, and fellow conspirator, Bob St. Peter for Food for Maine’s Future.  I am currently President of this group and spending three hours at this table is a real joy.  People stop by the table and say things like “You folks do such great work.”  And “Small farmers are so lucky to be represented by you.”  Well, I have to admit it is mostly Bob.  He is a brilliant organizer and a deeply compassionate person.  The organization is fortunate to have him.

I end my day at the fair doing my favorite thing: talking politics, at the Maine Green Independent Party table.  As I arrive Jacqui (the Green Party Welcome Wagon Lady) is having a heated discussion with Katie (one of my favorite Democrats) about the “spoiler” issue.   Oh what fun.  I like to call folks like Kate “Greens who don’t know they’re Greens yet.”  Prime examples being my friends David and Jean Hay Bright who finally saw the light and changed their registration and loyalty.

Finally I leave the fairgrounds to go home and make dinner for all comers.   I usually have between 5 and 12 people show up at my house (I live 5 minutes from the fairgrounds) for supper Friday and (when I’m not working) Saturday night.   On Friday it was the Greens and the parking crew.  The hardest working crew at the fair.  Here’s a picture of them during a lull in the action.

More later.   Three days of posts, at least.  Lots of pictures!!!

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