Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Fair News – Winter 2008-2009

Fair News Archive \ Fair News – Winter 08-09

The following Fair results and awards appear on a separate web page HERE.
  • Food Awards
  • Agricultural Products Booth Awards
  • Ox Scooting
  • Donkey and Mule Show
  • Draft Horse and Pony Show
  • Maine Marketplace
2008 Common Ground Country Fair Foot Race Results

2008 Common Kitchen Report

A Great Celebration – Thanks to You!

Over 59,000 people attended the 2008 Common Ground Country Fair. With picture perfect fall weather, an abundance of educational exhibitors, workshops, demonstrations and speakers, live music and entertainment, and a verdant collection of the best of Maine's artisans, crafters, food vendors and local farmers, there was indeed much to celebrate at this year's Fair.

Throughout the year we implement many changes to improve the experience for fairgoers, exhibitors and vendors. Some are quite visible, such as the new livestock barn built with lumber harvested by MOFGA's Low Impact Forestry team. We thank the volunteers and the Kennebec Valley Woodworkers Association who lent their considerable skill and labor to raise and finish the barn.

Drinking Water
The use of plastic water bottles was reduced by almost 45% over last year because people refilled their bottles this year at these drinking water stations. Ahearne photo.
The water bottle filling faucets we installed at our drinking water stations were modest but popular and successful additions to the Fairgrounds this year. By offering fairgoers the convenient option of refilling their own water bottles with fresh, clean, free drinking water, use of plastic water bottles was reduced by almost 45% from last year.

Solving the traffic and parking issues that many experienced this year is a focus of our work for next year. Record attendance, no railroad and an earlier evening closing time conspired to strain our systems, particularly on Saturday. We regret the inconvenience this caused for many fairgoers. The good news is that we can do much to alleviate the congestion and improve access to the fairgrounds. We look forward to implementing effective changes next year and providing a better experience for all participants at the Fair.

Thank you to all who joined us at the Common Ground Country Fair and to all MOFGA's members and volunteers. You made it all possible. See you next year!

– Jim Ahearne

Successful Seed Swap at Fair

The third annual Seed Swap at MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair was a resounding success, with over 10 times as much seed as we had the first year and three times as much as last year. The onion top sets were a big hit, with fairgoers walking away with over 5 pounds of sets tucked in their pockets. Because mechanical seed cleaners weren’t at the Fair this year, volunteers cleaned seed by hand as well as possible. Martha Gottlieb’s idea – make your own envelopes from recycled fair books and masking tape – worked great. We gave away 1000 packets in pre-labeled seed envelopes and probably another 500 in handmade envelopes – plus the onions.

– Adam Tomash

Fleece Tent Sets Another Record in 2008!

The 2008 sales for the Fleece Tent at Common Ground were up over 20% from 2007 – $12,200-plus in sales with close to 1,200 pounds of Maine fiber sold, including 1,005 pounds (half a ton!) of wool, about 100 pounds of alpaca, and some 50 pounds of other fibers, including mohair, llama, cashmere and angora. Sales on Friday alone topped $6,000.

This is great news for the Fleece Tent committee and the 47 growers who had fiber in the sale this year. It confirms that the Fleece Tent is truly a destination for fiber lovers from Maine and beyond seeking the best of Maine fiber.

We had a lively fleece show on Saturday. Jeff Jordan of Chichester, N.H., our judge, fielded questions from observers and shared his in-depth knowledge about fiber. Of 27 fleeces registered, the following were awarded ribbons and premiums:
Wednesday Spinners
Wednesday Spinners and friends. English photo.

1 – Elaine Clark
2 – Joe Miller
3 – Becky Bartovics

1 – Sonia Jones
2 – Cindy Lavan
3 – Raini Perry

1 – Beth Acker
2 – Jenny Smith
3 – Beth Acker

Elaine Clark received the Best in Show Ribbon for her lovely Icelandic fleece. All show participants received their judging forms with scores and judge’s comments.
The Wednesday Spinners tent featured another activity-filled weekend. Drop-spindling and felt-ball making attracted kids of all ages on Friday. The large, striking Earth LoomTM drew many fairgoers throughout the weekend. This year’s focus – an inspiration of Susan Barrett Merrill of Weaving a Life, Brooksville, Maine – was, “How can I help and heal the earth?” Participants were encouraged to write their commitments on small pieces of birch bark, which they wove into the tapestry using colorful yarn. In all, fairgoers created three tapestries during the weekend; one now hangs in MOFGA’s Exhibition Hall. We welcomed everyone’s thoughtful commitments and creative additions to this year’s pieces.

Add to these events a full schedule of well-attended talks and informal discussions at the Fleece Tent and the Wednesday Spinners Tent, and we can easily say that we celebrated our 31st year at the Fair in grand style.

The six vendors – our current maximum, given the “geography” of the area – in the Fiber Marketplace reported brisk sales. And as always, Dave Kennard and his border collies attracted large, enthusiastic crowds.

We encourage all Maine fiber growers to consider taking part in the fleece sale and show next year. For more information, please contact Penelope Olson, 785-2784,

2008 Fair Poster