Welcome to the Livestock Area of the Common Ground Country Fair. We try to show our livestock doing what they would do at their home farms. For example, our oxen are not judged by how far they can pull a given weight in a set time, but by how accurately they can do so. Having a strong draft animal to help on the farm is important, but equally or more important is having one that will stop, start and turn when needed. Otherwise, trees on the corners of twitching paths get debarked, gate posts get broken, and people, animals and machinery can be damaged beyond repair. Our Ox Teamsters Demos show how well the teams and teamsters can work together to get a load through an obstacle course representing a woods path or a set of farm gates and how accurately they can park it, doing so in an open area for easy viewing and in the woodlot for real.
The Show Ring holds multiple shows (listed under Livestock in the schedule). On Saturday the Show Ring and the Round Pen host many demos, most horse-oriented. Of special note are the Standardbred demos about getting one of these speedy harness racers retrained for home use. Later afternoon presentations feature draft horses, draft mules and oxen. The Round Pen will be used all weekend, with Terry McClare's popular demos on Saturday. Light horses, ponies, miniature horses, donkeys, mules and even a hinny plan to come and show what they can do. What's a hinny? To the dictionary!! (We're supposed to be educational-- and you'll sound so smart when you tell the people who didn't look it up!)
Fleece lovers prize the sheep exhibit as well as the Animal Products tent, the Wednesday Spinners and the Fleece Show and Sale near the popular Sheep Dog Demo Area...where Dave and Colin Kennard amaze and delight crowds with their versatile sheepdogs.
Boer goats will be at the sheep and goat barn, as will dairy goats of several breeds--and the first certified organic Nigerian Dwarf goat herd be represented in the Farmer's Market by the North Orchard. Check out this small breed with big milkfat percentage!
A wide range of dairy cattle breeds will be displayed, and Morris Farm will have its Jersey available for hand milking. You can also try hand milking one of the Tramp's Rest goats and see how they compare. Then, if you get to see the milking machines, you may appreciate how much muscle they save!
Several lesser-known beef breeds are coming to the Fair, including the popular and photogenic Scottish Highland cattle from Orchard Hill Farm. We also hope to have a pair of Norwegian Fiord foals at the draft horse barn. This sturdy and ancient breed is usually a dun color with a white mane and tail and a black stripe down the middle of the mane, so the foals will be extra cute. The foals have been carefully imprinted on humans and should do well at the Fair with their moms nearby, but please note that you are one of 50,000 people coming to see them: Give them their space if they seem to want to be admired from afar. This is good advice for visiting ALL the animals. The Fair can get overwhelming for our animal friends. Also, please do not feed or pet animals or enter stalls without permission. We'd like the Fair to be a good time for the animals as well as for you.
Finally, please remember not to eat in the Livestock area and to wash your hands on your way out of the area.
Oxen at the Common Ground Country Fair
The Livestock Area has many wonderful farm animals, but oxen are particular favorites of fairgoers. The oxen teamsters provide demonstrations of their animals' skills during the "Scooting" contests in the large demonstration area of the Fairgrounds. Scooting contests represent how the animals need to perform when actually logging in the woods or doing other farm chores. Watching a team that is "handy" is quite a sight and demonstrates how all the hours of training pay off. You'll also see the full spectrum of ages within the teamster group, starting with very young children who have spent many hours working with their teams. Teamsters offer a wealth of knowledge about their animals and welcome questions about the care and use of working farm animals. You might even be able to take the 'gourd stick' and 'drive' a pair of oxen under the watchful eye of their teamster. Lots of folks-even a four-year-old--did just that last year and earned a ribbon for their efforts. Imagine stepping out with several thousand pounds of oxen and having them respond to your left turn ("Haw") and right turn ("Gee") commands as you drive the team within the demonstration area. So come and learn about the difference between a bull, steer and ox and about the equipment they use, such as the gourd stick, oxbow, scoot, and head and neck yokes.
-- Paule Cote
March 29, 2005
Dear Livestock People,
The dates for this year's Common Ground Country Fair are September 23, 24, & 25. Enclosed is an application for livestock exhibit space. Applications must be postmarked by April 22. Please read all of the enclosed paperwork carefully.
MOFGA, Common Ground Country Fair, and clean air go together. We encourage volunteers to refrain from smoking on the fairgrounds. A new guideline has been adopted at the Fair, which is basically a statement of an already existing policy:
"Smoking is prohibited in the following areas of the Fair: the Children's Area; the shuttle and wagon rides; the food preparation and service area; all buildings including barns and all tents."
Quick Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- Please leave your pets (dogs) at home.
- No breeding male animals allowed on Fairgrounds.
- Bring only healthy animals with up-to-date shots and shot and health records. Rabies shots are NOT OFFERED at the fair, but ARE REQUIRED. Livestock Coordinators have the authority to refuse to admit animals of questionable health.
- Rabbits: Contact the Western Maine Rabbit Breeders Association, Perley Emery, 743-9569.
- Poultry: Contact the Fair Office.
- Draft Horse Show: Contact, Bill & Darcy Winslow, 583-2204.
- Draft Horse Demo: Contact, Paul Birdsall, 374-5038.
- Oxen teamsters: Contact, Wes Daniels 845-2235.
- Donkey & Mules: Contact, Clair Wallace 667-9665.
- There are no recreational vehicle hookups for water or electricity. Ice will be available in 20 or 40 pound bags from Aucoin's Lemonade Concession in the main Food Area.
Please note the application deadline of April 22nd. Late applicants may not be listed in this year's Fairbook. I look forward to hearing from you.
Livestock Area Coordinator
Coordinators: Cathy Reynolds (Coordinator); Wes Daniels, Dave Kennard (Sheepdogs); Perley Emery, Western Maine Rabbit Breeders Association (Rabbits); Central Maine Bird Fanciers, Inc. (Poultry); Paul Birdsall and Don Nickerson (Draft Horses); Ansley Newton, and Karen Douglass, (Standardbred Pleasure Horse Show); Bill & Darcy Winslow (Draft Horse Show).
Purpose: The goal of the Livestock Area at the CGCF is to present attractive and educational exhibits of livestock raised and/or used on Maine farms.
- Applicants must read and abide by the general guidelines for the Common Ground Country Fair.
- Livestock Area Coordinators choose or solicit participants from Maine. If a particular animal or breed is not available in Maine, or owners of those in Maine do not want to participate, Coordinators may choose out-of-State participants.
- The CGCF defines a Livestock Exhibit as the animal(s) and an attendant familiar with the animal(s). The attendant must be able to supply educational information to fairgoers. Attendants should be knowledgeable about the breed, its pros and cons, and how it is a part of the farm. Attendants must be present all three days of the Fair.
- Exhibitors must own their entire exhibits.
- The CGCF reserves the right to accept or reject any entry.
- Insurance coverage of at least $300,000 is mandatory for all animals at the CGCF. Exhibitors must submit proof of insurance to the CGCF office. A photocopy of the insurance policy is acceptable.
- Applicants may not apply to exhibit breeding jacks, stallions, bulls or studs. Such breeding male animals are not permitted on the fairgrounds.
- The CGCF accepts only one cow-calf pair of each breed of cattle. Other combinations, such as a pair of steers, is acceptable.
- Dog exhibits are restricted to one group each of sheep dogs and sled dogs.
- The Western Maine Rabbit Breeders Association is in charge of the rabbit and cavy exhibit. Applicants interested in exhibiting rabbits or cavies should contact: Perley Emery, 64 Durgin Rd, S Paris, ME 04281. 743-9569.
- Central Maine Bird Fanciers, Inc. is in charge of the poultry exhibit. Applicants interested in exhibiting birds should contact: the Fair Office. All birds must be tested for typhoid and pullorum. CMBF can administer these tests.
- All paperwork, including copies of proof of insurance, valid rabies certificates, and other appropriate health papers such as negative coggins tests for equines, must be in the CGCF office four weeks before the Fair. PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR NOW, your confirmation pack will be delayed if this information is not in the office on time. You will come up short for vehicle and exhibitor passes, which really causes havoc with the traffic lines. Please be sure to bring all passes with you for the Fair.
- All proposed animal exhibits, rides, demonstrations and activities must be approved by the Livestock and/or Animal Products Area Coordinators.
Livestock at the Fair
- Exhibitors are encouraged to bring their own pens and gates. Some shelter will be available.
- The CGCF provides the following amenities to exhibitors:
- rabbit cages;
- shavings for stalls and pens;
- nine gate passes. This allows exhibitor and two assistants free entry to the Fair each day.
- The CGCF does not provide tables, chairs or outside cover in the Livestock Area.
- The CGCF encourages exhibitors to bring educational materials about their animals to inform fairgoers.
- State veterinarians and Fair officials have the right to examine all animals on the fairgrounds for disease or unsoundness at any time, regardless of whether the owner or attendant is present. Livestock must have appropriate health certificates, including proof of rabies vaccination, available for inspection by Fair officials. Livestock must be fed and maintained in a manner consistent with how they are expected to perform.
- The CGCF will not tolerate interference with any inspector, judge, or CGCF or State official when these persons are carrying out their duties.
- The CGCF reserves the right, in the case of misrepresentation or other infractions of the rules, to suspend a Livestock Area exhibitor from the privileges of the Fair, withhold all premiums due, and/or bar the exhibitor from further participation.
- Livestock Exhibitors must pay a 10% commission to the CGCF for any livestock sales that occur during the Fair.
- Participants exhibit animals and property at their own risk. Neither the CGCF nor MOFGA will be responsible for any loss or damage from any cause.
- Livestock Exhibitors may leave the fairgrounds with their animals beginning at 5 pm on Sunday afternoon. All Livestock Area participants must exit through the gate designated by the Fair Safety Crew. Any Livestock Exhibitor exhibiting large or heavy farm equipment at the Fair may begin packing up the equipment at 4 pm on Sunday afternoon as long as this action does not detract significantly from the overall exhibit, or interfere with other Fair exhibits or activities.
- The CGCF defines a Livestock Demonstrator as someone who demonstrates twice a day. A demonstration includes explaining to or showing the public a particular skill and/or technique that involves livestock in traditional farming operations.
- Working cattle and equines must work. The CGCF will not pay exhibitors for any working cattle or equines that do not demonstrate, except in cases of extreme
- The CGCF awards ribbons and/or premiums to livestock in the following categories: ox teamsters show, donkey & mule show, and the draft horse show.
- Judges in the Livestock Area need not award premiums of any kind unless an exhibit is worthy. Judges may withhold first prize and award second, third, or none, according to the merit of the exhibit.
- Judges or Livestock Area Coordinators may award ribbons for the most attractive and most educational exhibits.
Payment for Exhibiting
Within the annual budget constraints of the Fair, the CGCF will pay each exhibitor as follows:
- Pen of goats: $75 (minimum 3 goats of each breed).
- Pen of pigs: $75 (minimum 3 pigs of each breed).
- Pen of sheep: $75 (minimum 3 sheep of each breed).
- Rabbits: $250 to Western Maine Rabbit Breeders Association, to be distributed to participating members.
- Poultry: $1000 to Central Maine Bird Fanciers Club.
- Cattle/Horses/Donkeys/Mules/etc...; $100/1 animal for 3 days); $300/working team for 3 days.
- Payment for other animals will be made on a case-by-case basis.
- A payment of $25 for each piece of demonstration equipment used.
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)
Common Ground Country Fair
PO Box 170
Unity, ME 04988