Login
   Minimize 
  

  You are here:  The FairFair News   
 Common Ground Country Fair News Minimize

2017 Common Ground Country Fair poster

Common Ground Country Fair
September 22, 23 and 24, 2017

(Always the third weekend after Labor Day)

A Poultry Little Miracle
Art Contest Open Until August 4, 2017, for 2018 Fair
Join the Common Ground Country Fair Planning Team!
Volunteer Registration Open for the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair
Ride a Bus to the Fair
Tami Colburn, Fair Assistant
Committee Thanks Bryan McLellan



A Poultry Little Miracle

"Sometimes something miraculous happens. Over the last seven years I've entered the Common Ground Country Fair poster contest five times. The fifth entry was chosen for this year's poster."

So said Dwight Gagnon of Benton Falls, Maine, during his Pecha Kucha presentation in Waterville (https://vimeo.com/204897974).

Gagnon's 2017 winning design for the Fair poster and other items features three roosting Columbian Wyandotte chickens – a delightful and fitting image for MOFGA's 41st annual Common Ground Country Fair, to be held on MOFGA's grounds in Unity on September 22, 23 and 24. This uncommon poultry variety is well suited to Maine's climate and is raised for both meat and egg production.

Gagnon has lived in Benton since 1969, where his wife, Kay, and cat, Sophie, also live and where he and Kay raised their two children, Amy and Aaron. That's also where the small flock of Wyandottes lived. "I went out to the hen house one night in February, when it was cold and dark," says Gagnon. "Chickens really hold still when they can't see in the dark. I photographed them and surprised them" in the process … and captured their surprise in his photo.

He turned that photo into a 2-by-3-foot acrylic on canvas painting, transferring the design square by square using a grid technique described in his Pecha Kucha presentation.

"There were no art programs where I went to high school," says Gagnon, "so I took drafting," and he still uses drafting modes (grids) in his art.

At the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Gagnon majored in biology and minored in art. "I wanted to do natural science illustration," he says. His college and art/drafting background led, however, to a 14-year career as a dental lab technician, which involved sculpting, metal casting, and working with wax and stone. Then he taught computer technology in public schools for 23 years. He is now retired and is in the process of moving to the farm next door, which has been in the family for more than 100 years.

Daughter Amy (also an artist, and an employee of The Naturalist's Notebook in Seal Harbor) inspired Gagnon to get back into painting almost 10 years ago. "She thought I should be doing something more at night than sitting down watching TV," says Gagnon. "She said she wanted to see something next time she visited."

On the website for Sebasticook Art (http://sebasticookart.com/), a collaborative space for Gagnon and other artists, he says, "I consider myself an amateur artist, creating for family and friends, and entering local fair exhibits. I use art as social connection and a way of maintaining sanity. My current studio is a temporary arrangement near a wood stove in the basement of my home. I work mostly in the winter, and I'm most productive when there is a raging snowstorm outside, the stove is burning, the cat is sleeping close by, and there is good music on the radio."

He continues, "Growing good healthy food at home, conservation, and appreciation of all forms of art have been lifelong pursuits due to my education in environmental science and the connections I've made through Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Natural Resources Council of Maine, The Colby Museum of Art, The Farnsworth Art Museum, and the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators."

Asked if he has advice for others entering the Fair art contest, Gagnon says, "Following the directions they give you is really important." Those guidelines are posted on the Fair page of www.mofga.org. Beyond that, keep at it, he says. "It's just a matter of time. Always do something you'll enjoy having if it isn't chosen." He has given his previous submissions away as gifts.

Regarding winning this year, "I am so thrilled," says Gagnon. "I was in the garage one afternoon" when Fair director April Boucher called to say he won. "I wasn't even going to enter this year." He didn't think he could make the early August deadline, but when he was at Winterberry Farm in Belgrade on Open Farm Day, he saw other winning Fair posters hanging at the farm market there. "I said, ‘Gosh. The poster deadline is coming up and I'm never going to make it.' But I just set into it and did it!"

Gagnon will be signing posters at the Fair.

Art Contest Open Until August 4, 2017, for 2018 Fair

MOFGA is accepting artwork submissions for the 2018 Common Ground County Fair until August 4, 2017. Guidelines and the contest entry form are available on mofga.org. Questions: commonground@mofga.org or 207-568-4142.

Top

Join the Common Ground Country Fair Planning Team!

We would love to have you join us as we plan the Common Ground Country Fair. Every facet of the Fair is shepherded by volunteers who give their time and energy to this annual celebration of rural living. Scheduling talks, reviewing applications, managing parking lots… our coordinators come from every walk of life to organize and plan for the Fair throughout the year. They do so much to contribute to the design and production of this extraordinary celebration. It's a great team of people to work with and know.

There are areas throughout the Fair where we are looking for help and where you could make a difference. We have a list and description of volunteer coordinator positions at http://mofga.org/TheFair. Please take a look! Our current openings include the following:

• Common Kitchen apprentice

• Compost and Recycling apprentice

• North Parking co-coordinators

• South parking co-coordinators

• Parking layout and setup coordinators

• Parking shift leaders

• Railcar Speakers Tent coordinator

• Railway Gate coordinator

• Volunteer T-Shirt setup coordinator

As the Fair evolves, new opportunities arise. The above openings top our list, but perhaps you see a way to help with something we've missed. Either way, if you would like to take a leadership role in producing our big annual celebration, we would love to hear from you. Please visit our website or contact Anna Libby, MOFGA's volunteer coordinator, at alibby@mofga.org or 207-568-4142.

Top

Volunteer Registration Open for the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair

Volunteer registration for the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair is now open! You can sign up now for volunteer shifts before, during and after the Fair to help support this great event. Individuals, families and groups are all welcome.

Individuals can register for shifts at www.VolunteerMatters.com/login/mofga. Whether you have a favorite shift you like to return to each year or are excited to try something new, now is a great time to choose your shifts.

Planning to bring your friends, family, students or colleagues? We love having big groups volunteer, and you can email volunteers@mofga.org to sign up. We have particular areas that are great for groups, and we can help you find the right shift.

We rely on hundreds of volunteers, contributing in a myriad of ways, to produce MOFGA's annual celebration of rural living. Whether you have a specific skill, experience in a trade or simply an abundance of enthusiasm and creativity, the Fair has a volunteer role for you. Contributing in every imaginable way – from carpentry to commercial plumbing and electrical work, landscaping, traffic control, preparing meals, collecting and sorting recyclables and trash, collecting tickets assisting speakers, staffing information booths, selling T-shirts, and more – volunteers do just about anything and everything necessary to make the Common Ground Country Fair happen.

Volunteers who work a 4-hour shift receive a "grown and made in the USA" organic cotton Fair T-shirt, Fair admission and a delicious meal served by the Common Kitchen. Work additional shifts and receive additional meals and days of free admission.

For more information about volunteering at the Fair, visit the Fair Volunteers webpage at www.mofga.org or contact Anna Libby at the MOFGA office at 207-568-4142 or volunteers@mofga.org.

Every year, the Fair ends with a special event Sunday afternoon and evening – a raffle for all of our volunteers who help on Sunday! Volunteers who have completed a shift that day – and our volunteer coordinators – gather to celebrate their hard work and dedication.  Tables are filled with amazing prizes donated from Fair exhibitors – an apple ladder is often a coveted prize, and our hard-working volunteers also gratefully receive other great items, including, at times, wool socks, pottery, cookbooks, and special items made by our Youth Enterprise Zone exhibitors.

"As the Fair winds down, it is always touching to see the volunteers celebrating together by sharing a last meal in the Common Kitchen and enjoying the raffle together," says Anna Libby, MOFGA's volunteer coordinator. One of our dedicated volunteers spends the weekend collecting donations from our exhibitors. The exhibitors, too, are thankful for the opportunity to show their appreciation to our hard-working volunteers.

Sunday is a busy day at the Fair, but volunteer numbers are often lower as people travel back home. Consider taking on a shift in Parking, the Common Kitchen, Compost and Recycling, the Children's Area or another key area of the Fair. We'll be glad to have you!  You can register online at www.VolunteerMatters.com/login/mofga or email volunteers@mofga.org for more information. We'll see you at the Fair!

Top

Ride a Bus to the Fair

Most of us drive to the Common Ground Country Fair, resulting in slow traffic and high CO2 emissions. Carpooling and bicycling help reduce these problems immensely. Last year three buses (from Portland, Skowhegan and Lincoln County) came to the Fair, sponsored by Maine Adult Education programs. We hope to have more buses this year. Consider contacting your local Adult Ed program (see http://www.maineadulted.org/programs/) to see if it would sponsor a bus from your area (and then help fill it!). Residents sign up, share the bus cost and pay a lower Fair entrance fee, ride to the Fair, are dropped at the gate, spend hours at the Fair, and are bused home at the end of the day. Information about pickup locations, days and times will be publicized closer to Fair time.

Top

Tami Colburn, Fair Assistant

We are excited to welcome back Tami Colburn for her second season as our Common Ground Country Fair Assistant. Colburn not only brings with her a full season of experience but a great work ethic and positive attitude. She will be answering the phone calls for the Fair office and helping with many other tasks. Glad to have you back, Tami!

Top

Committee Thanks Bryan McLellan

Bryan McLellan has recently stepped down from his board and committee positions at MOFGA. McLellan served on the board and executive committee for the past three years, the newly formed governance committee for a year, and on Fair Steering Committee for over five years. He will continue to volunteer at the Common Ground Country Fair where he is our communications, traffic and parking control coordinator. We want to extend our gratitude for the over five years of service McLellan has given to MOFGA. He will be missed on the board and by the committees, but we are delighted he will continue to volunteer. Thanks Bryan!

Top

2017 Common Ground Country Fair Poster Unveiled!
MOFGA Accepting Applications for Exhibitors and Presenters for the 2017 Fair
Start Planning for the Fair
Join the Team and Make a Difference at Common Ground!


2017 Common Ground Country Fair Poster Unveiled!

The poster is available online through our MOFGA Store.

A highlight during MOFGA day at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show was the unveiling of the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair poster. The poster features three Columbian Wyandotte chickens roosting. This uncommon variety is well suited to Maine's climate and is raised for both meat and egg production. Local artist Dwight Gagnon of Benton created the design, which is a delightful and fitting image for the 41st annual Common Ground Country Fair, September 22, 23 and 24.

Each year, MOFGA invites Maine residents and MOFGA members (regardless of residence) to submit a design for our Common Ground Country Fair poster. The selected design is featured on the Fair poster, website, T-shirt and promotional literature. Plus, the artist is featured in this newspaper and in a press release about the poster contest and selected design. In addition to these benefits, the winning artist receives $2,500. For complete guidelines, including technical specifications, eligibility requirements and timeline, please visit the
Poster link on the Fair page at www.mofga.org or contact the MOFGA office at commonground@mofga.org or 207-568-4142.

Top

MOFGA Accepting Applications for Exhibitors and Presenters for the 2017 Fair

Would you like to be a vendor, exhibitor or demonstrator at the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair? Do you know of a presenter, artisan or Maine enterprise that would be a good fit for Common Ground? The application process for vendors, exhibitors and speakers for the 2017 Fair is underway.

If you are interested in participating in the Fair as a vendor, exhibitor, demonstrator or speaker, but unsure of which area at the Fair is appropriate for you, call us for help or review the area descriptions and guidelines posted on the Fair pages of www.mofga.org.

Top

Start Planning for the Fair

Here are some things you can do now to start planning for the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair:

• Volunteer as an area coordinator to help manage a part of the Fair that resonates with you.

• Create a design for the 2018 Common Ground Country Fair poster design contest. Details are posted on the Fair Poster page at www.mofga.org.

• Order seeds and start plants for your garden. Results could be entered in the Exhibition Hall displays or offered to the Common Kitchen to help feed volunteers during the Fair.

• Work with your local schools and teachers to plan a student field trip to Common Ground. It's never too early to ask, especially because the Fair comes right after the start of the school year. All student groups get into the Fair free on Friday, and we offer partial reimbursements for school group travel expenses.

• Work with your local Adult Education Program to organize a community bus trip to Common Ground. It's a terrific way to help conserve resources while getting preferred parking near the Rose Gate!

• Tune your bicycle and body to bicycle, partway or all the way, to the Fair. Each year nearly 600 cyclists pedal to the Fair.

Top

Join the Team and Make a Difference at Common Ground!

Do you love the Common Ground Country Fair? Maybe you've been coming each year since you were young, or maybe you've volunteered for a few shifts and want to do more.  We are looking for some dedicated individuals to join our Fair Planning Team. 

Each year many individuals organize the different pieces of the Fair. From the parking lots to the kitchen to the speakers' tents, volunteers take the lead. You can join the team for the 2017 Fair! Maybe you have a love for livestock or are excited about alternative ways to get to the Fair. Maybe you want to take on a shift in the parking lot and give our hardworking coordinators an extra hand. Maybe you'd be willing to help schedule some talks or organize volunteers in a particular area. 

Whatever your interests, there is a way for you to make a difference. Contact MOFGA's volunteer coordinator, Anna Libby, at
alibby@mofga.org or 207-568-4142.

Top
 

For earlier articles about the Fair,
See the Fair News Archives.


    

Home | Programs | Agricultural Services | The Fair | Certification | Events | Publications | Resources | Store | Support MOFGA | Contact | MOFGA.net | Search
  Copyright © 2017 Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement    Site by Planet Maine