Fair Activities, Contests and Shows
Going On All Weekend
Maine Apple Adventures
Children in kindergarten through grade 8 and their families are invited on Saturday and Sunday to investigate one of Maine's most delicious and important orchard crops in a series of Fair activities entitled Maine Apple Adventures. The Maine Apple Tent (MAT) has scheduled opportunities for experiments or taste tests, games, and trying on costumes relating to the life cycle, history and nutritional benefits of Maine apples. An "Apple Adventure Passport" challenges children to explore other areas of the Fair, to learn about the many types of Maine apples, how they're grown and how they benefit human health. This program is sponsored by a generous grant from Tom's of Maine. Kids, please note that you can enter an apple pie contest in the Exhibition Hall. See the rules at www.mofga.org/fb_04exh_rules.html or call 207-568-4142 for a hard copy; or for a link to the web page via e-mail, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
--Mary Bird - School Garden Network
Agricultural Demonstrations -- MOFGA's Technical Services Program will answer your questions on organic gardening and organic livestock, and MOFGA's Certification Services will answer questions on organic certification. For demonstrations of seed cleaning with a mobile seed-cleaning unit, please see Friday and Saturday schedules. Other exhibitors will be at their booths to answer questions about farming and gardening sustainably in Maine. See the Agricultural Demonstrations Booths Participants List for information.
Low Impact Forestry (LIF)- "Stump to Stickers"--ongoing woodlot operations in MOFGA's woodlot. Logging Tours leave hourly from LIF tent from 10:00 to 2:00.
Animal Demonstrations and Exhibits -- Draft horse, mule, pig, cow, ox, dairy goat, sheep, pack goat, llama, alpaca, rabbit, poultry and other animal exhibits and demonstrations occur in many areas. Large livestock demonstrations occur all weekend in the Large Livestock Demo Area. Low Impact Forestry has many demonstrations in the woodlot using large livestock. Look for interesting animal demonstrations in the Animal Products Area. Hay rides happen all weekend near the Large Livestock Area.
The Country Store sells Fair merchandise, including T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, nightshirts, note cards, posters, caps and much more. Susan Balch, designer of the 2005 Fair artwork, will sign posters on Sunday from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.
Entertainment -- Performances are scheduled in the Amphitheater, on the Spotlight Stage and in the Children's Area. And keep your eyes and ears open for the endless roving entertainment all around the fairgrounds.
Fleece Sale -- All day; and the Fleece Tent is starting a new, ongoing series called "Fleece Notes" - informal sessions where you can talk to growers and other fleece "fanatics" about the basics - selecting, skirting, processing and beyond.
Folk Arts Tents -- Maine folk artists demonstrate making traditional crafts and practical items used for living in rural Maine. At the Maine Folklife Center Tent, hear oral history interviews with long-time Fair volunteers and coordinators.
Native American Area -- Check the Schedule of Events for demonstrations and entertainment, such as drumming and singing.
Stone Working -- The Maine Stone Workers' Guild demonstrates stone cutting and carving daily.
Wednesday Spinners' Tent -- Ongoing demonstrations of shearing, skirting, spinning, dyeing and weaving of many different fibers.
Taste the FairCommon Ground Country Fair is magical. For three days we experience sights, smells and tastes unlike those at most agricultural events. Farmers proudly display well treated livestock, growers share produce raised with special attention, and businesspeople offer goods and services with a unique touch. Perhaps the best-known business areas at the Fair are those devoted to food, but few fairgoers understand what goes into being a Food Vendor at Common Ground.
While many who offer prepared meals at Common Ground travel to other weekend shows throughout the year, quite a few set up booths only here, once a year. Whether polished professionals or representatives of nonprofits, every vendor meets the same stringent requirements. State health officials, who require separate hand and dishwashing stations and other sanitary precautions, inspect all Maine agricultural fairs. At Common Ground, vendors must also meet recycling standards. Staff is trained to separate compost from other waste behind the scenes as Fairgoers do all over the site. Along with MOFGA rules for all vendors and exhibitors, food vendors comply with special guidelines. In addition to 100% organic ingredients, every serving sold for consumption at the Fair must contain 50% (by weight) Maine-grown ingredients. Vendors begin sourcing ingredients in the chill of winter, connecting with Maine producers early.
Each growing season has surprises, and vendors need to be creative, as a rainy spring can change even the best plans. Many food vendors reflect Maine farmers' increased capacity to grow quality organic products by offering items with 75% or even 100% Maine-grown, organic ingredients. Look for ribbons signifying this achievement throughout the North and South Food Areas.
Speaking of ribbons, last year we expanded our food awards to 12 categories and asked fairgoers to be judges. The task of tasting offerings from dozens of fine cooks overwhelmed folks who had not expected it to take their whole day. For 2005, we've decided to reward some of our hard-working set-up volunteers by offering them the chance to rate the food that has made the Common Ground Country Fair a world-renowned showcase for the best tastes in Maine. Their decisions will be posted Friday afternoon.
Draft Horse Show
The Common Ground Draft Horse Show will take place on Sunday in the Show Ring. Draft horses and their owners compete in many classes, while announcers explain the qualities and strengths of different breeds. The show begins at 9:30 a.m. All participants must have proof of liability insurance and negative Coggins tests for their horses. Anyone who is interested in participating in the show should contact David Stevens at 948-5641.
Draft Horse Show Class List
1.) Jr. Showmanship
It's Better for You!
The Common Ground Foot Race began with the first Fair in Litchfield in 1977 as a 10- kilometer/6.2-mile contest. The course was tough (hilly) but scenic, meandering through farmland and apple orchards, starting and finishing at the fairgrounds. When the Fair moved to Windsor in 1981, the race moved also, to a shorter, 5-mile distance, starting and finishing across from the fairgrounds. This course had a couple of challenging but more benign hills.
Since its move to Unity in 1998, the 5K/3.1-mile foot race is now half its original distance. It starts and ends at the North Gate/Rose Gate parking lot, looping the fairgrounds to the South parking lot and back. The race starts on Sunday at 8 a.m., after registration at 7 a.m. Race entrants are admitted free to the Fair and receive a commemorative T-shirt. Awards are given to overall winners, MOFGA members and age group winners.
This is Maine's only "organic footrace." Due to the popularity of this fine run, coordinators Skip Howard and Christopher Bovie have unofficially announced this year's race to be wholly organic. Organic soil tracked onto the adjacent road makes the road organic and better for you. This is the opportunity for a wonderful, "feel good" run and a chance to attend Maine's best fair-and that "feel good" sensation will lead to the prestigious "runner's high," thereby negating the hills on the course.
Running this challenging 5k course will increase your enjoyment of the Fair. What more could you want than an opportunity for fine, early morning exercise, a great fair, wonderful companionship, and that "runner's high" on an uncertified organic course? (Don't tell USDA!) Join us on Sunday morning and run to your heart's desire.
--Skip Howard and Chris Bovie
The 27th Annual Common Ground 5K Foot Race will start at 8:00 a.m. Sunday at the Race Tent in the Rose (North) Parking Lot. Runners will follow the Crosby Brook Road around the back of the fairgrounds to the Pine (South) Gate, then return to the Race Tent.
Runners should check in at the Race Tent. Race day registration begins at 6:45 a.m. The entry fee for the Foot Race is $10.00. Each participant in the Foot Race receives a Fair T-shirt and admission to the Fair. Awards will be given in the following categories:
1st & 2nd Male, and 1st & 2nd Female
1st & 2nd Male & Female MOFGA-Member Finishers
1st & 2nd Male & Female in the following age groups: 19 & under; 20-29;
30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60 & over.
Preregistration is open until September 18. Contact: Christopher Bovie, 42 Dow Rd., Vassalboro, ME 04989. 622-1267
Donkey and Mule ShowThe Common Ground Donkey & Mule Show will be held on Friday starting at 1:PM. Donkeys & Mules and their owners may complete in this fun event, which shows the versatility and calmness of these animals. Anyone who has considered owning a horse and then decided against it may want to check out the qualities and strengths of these gentle quadrupeds of the horse family. All participants must have proof of liability insurance and negative coggins test for their animals. People interested in participating can call Claire Wallace at 667-9665.
Donkey & Mule Class List
7. Driving donkeys , without cart
Oxen Teamsters Scooting ContestOxen demonstrations will be ongoing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:15 a.m. to 11:30 a. m. in the Large Livestock Area. An Oxen Teamsters Log Scooting Contest at 1:00 p.m. each day will provide great entertainment for the entire family. Fairgoers can learn about the strengths and characteristics specific to certain breeds of oxen and watch teamsters carefully guide their animals through an obstacle course. On Sunday, immediately following the contest, judges will present an award to the Outstanding Ox-Teamster.
Poultry ContestCommon Ground hosts a wonderful Poultry Contest in the Poultry Barn. Anyone who has come to the Fair in the early morning can attest to the diversity of "cock-a-doodle-doos" emanating from the Livestock Area. If you are interested in showing a bird in the Poultry Barn, please contact the Central Maine Bird Fanciers c/o Richard Royer 1231 Camden Rd., Warren, ME 04864 -- cell: 542-4211 home: 273-4174 -- email@example.com. The contest has been so popular over the past few years that we have had to turn prospective entrants away. Please get your registration in early. Poultry contest judging will begin on Saturday morning. Please--no sale birds outside of the building.
Fleece Show & Sale
The Fleece Tent offers an impressive display of fleeces for sale, as well as demonstrations, and a show. The sale of handspinning fleeces goes on during the entire three days, beginning at 9:00 am and ending at 6:00 pm. There are demonstrations such as selecting fleeces for special purposes, and washing fleeces. The Fleece Show takes place on Saturday at 10:00 am.
Harry S. Truman Manure Pitch-Off
Anyone who has worked on a farm knows that distance and accuracy are important skills to hone when shoveling manure. At the Harry S. Truman Manure Pitch-Off, fairgoers can show off their poop-pitching talent in the standard open, women's or juniors' competitions. These competitions take place on Saturday (25 lb. Basket Toss) and Sunday (Distance Throw). Contests begin at 2:00 in the North Orchard.
Fairgoers often ask, "Why Harry S. Truman?" We got the answer from Pitch-Off founder Mort Mather. Apparently, a friend in the Truman social circle once urged Bess, "You really have to get Harry to stop saying 'manure' all the time." Bess replied, "You have no idea how long I've been trying to get him to start." Mort added that Truman was a man after his own heart.
Winners of all Manure Pitch-off classes will earn an organic cotton Common Ground Country Fair T-Shirt.
First Stop: A MOFGA Booth -- For Love and MoneyLove those bucolic farm scenes in your community? Love the increasing availability of organic foods? Love the economics of having farmers on your town tax rolls? We would love to have you join MOFGA, which supports all of these goals. Do so at one of the MOFGA Booths (located just outside the ticket gates) and you'll get into the Fair free all weekend! Also at the MOFGA Booths you can learn about:
Information BoothGet specific information about Fair vendors, exhibitors, building locations, presentations, contests -- anything related to the Fair -- at the Information Booth. You may also find answers to your questions by looking at the fairgrounds map or the Schedule of Events in this Fairbook.
Read The Paper!The Fairbook issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, MOFGA's quarterly newspaper, contains lots of great information about sustainable agriculture and rural Maine living. While the Fair section of the newspaper is most useful to fairgoers, we encourage all visitors to take the entire paper home and learn more about environmentally sound, local farming practices. Please share the papers with your friends, families, libraries, doctors' offices, town halls and other contacts or venues. Thanks!
Help Us Make Common Ground A Clean Air EventThe Common Ground Country Fair encourages fairgoers to refrain from smoking while at the Fair. We want this to be a Clean Air event. Smoking is strictly prohibited in all buildings, barns, tents, restrooms (including port-a-potties), the amphitheater, the Food Area, the Children's Area, the wagon rides and the shuttle rides from and to South Parking Lot. Thank you for your cooperation.
For information about Clean Air events and venues in Maine, visit the Maine Bureau of Health exhibit in the Environmental Concerns Tent.
Attention: Babies, Small Children, Parents and ChaperonesNursing mothers who want privacy and quiet may take their babies to the Child Nuturing/Nursing Tent in the Children's Area.
Please refrain from using disposable diapers at the Fair. If you cannot avoid using disposables, please consider taking the used diapers with you and disposing of them with your home garbage, or use the designated diaper changing area and we will have recycled plastic bags for you to pack them out. Please do not put diapers in the waste collection stations around the fairgrounds. Thank you in advance from the recycling volunteers who meticulously inspect and sort all Fair-generated waste by hand.
The Common Ground Country Fair does not provide child care. Parents or chaperones are responsible for supervising their children. Please do not leave children unattended in the Children's Area.
Lost PeopleWith more than 20,000 people roaming the fairgrounds daily, fairgoers may get separated from their families or groups. Please establish a meeting time and place in case someone from your group gets lost. If children or adults get lost, they should notify the nearest Fair volunteer wearing a natural-colored "Fair Volunteer" or copper "Staff" T-shirt. Volunteers take children to the Children's Area. To ensure the safety of lost children, the Common Ground Country Fair will not announce their names on the public address system. Parents or chaperones should look for their lost children in the Children's Area. Also, a lost persons tent outside the Children's Area will have a message board, paper and pencils to help you find your lost family or group! Leave a message suggesting a meeting time and place. If you've lost part of your group or family, check here first.
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)