Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Fair News – Fall 1997

Fair News Archive \ Fair – Fall 1997

Celebrate Rural Living with MOFGA!
1997 Area Coordinators for the Common Ground Country Fair
A Tribute to Newt Cochran
Volunteer Donald Ketcham Recovering


Celebrate Rural Living with MOFGA!

By Susan Pierce, Director of Special Events and Russell Libby, Executive Director

Once again we are gathering to celebrate a harvest. Common Ground Country Fair is the culmination of a year of activity, from the gardens through the entire range of our daily lives.

MOFGA wants the Fair to represent the whole of rural life. At the heart of Common Ground is a traditional agricultural fair, with exhibits of produce, farm products and livestock. Farmers sell their products at the farmer's market and in agricultural booths. Some of Maine's most innovative uses of local and organic foods are displayed in the food area. But rural living goes beyond agriculture, to encompass traditional and modern crafts, and technology that works for farm and household: the right tools, the right systems. Entertainment runs from stories to fiddles to a wide range of local musicians. Rural Susan Pierce. living today also means that we're involved in the broader world around us, so we have areas devoted to environmental concerns and social and political action.

If MOFGA has one wish for the Fair, it's that you will take the ideas you encounter during your visit and turn them into action. Plant one of the unusual tomato varieties you'll see on display. Learn how to make one of the Russell Libby. meals that you especially liked in the food area, and find the ingredients in your garden or at the local farmers' market. Try your hand at a traditional craft. Dance. Tell a story. Get involved in solving the problems of your community or the state.

The author Annie Proulx recently observed that the public seems to think of things rural as more authentic than their everyday lives. We hope that you can make a closer link between your daily lives and "rural living" as you join us in our celebration, the Common Ground Country Fair.


1997 Area Coordinators for the Common Ground Country Fair

The following people are members of the Common Ground Country Fair Planning Team. All are volunteers who give countless hours of their time, knowledge and expertise throughout the year.

Agricultural Booth: Ernie Glabau, Jarrodd Pooler

Agricultural Demonstrations: Cynthia Hamlin, Mark Albee, Wendy Decrodo, Faye Krause, Caitlyn Hunter, Bradford Hunter, Mark Silber, Terry Silber

Animal Products: Mary Isham

Announcements: Skip Green

Auto Gate: Amos Alley, Jim Bowers

Common Ground Country Fair Steering

Committee Chair: CR Lawn

Children’s Area: Marie Hickey, Kim Kuntz, Jim McEntee
Children’s Parade: Beedy Parker

Common Kitchen: Bill Whitman, Barbara MacLennan, Wes Sproul, Catherine LeBlanc, Kim Bolshaw

Country Store: Lisa Miller, Roy Miller, Dennis Merrill

Crafts: Peggy Strong, Joann Tribby

Electricity: Steve Plumb, Paul Murray

Entertainment: David Neufeld (Storytelling), Joe Clarke (Daytime), Ellis Percy (Evening), Marie Hickey (Roving)

Environmental Concerns: Obie Buell

Exhibition Hall: Martha Gottlieb, Valerie Jackson, Roberta Bunker, Peggy Connell (Indoor Booths)

Fairgrounds: Rick Kipp, David Howe

Fairgrounds Office Volunteer: Debbie Kipp

Farmers’ Market: David Smith

Fiddle Contest: Bucky Bohrmann

First Aid: Ham Robbins, Pat Donaghy

Folk Arts: Nancy Dudley, Tom Eichenberg

Food: Matthew Strong, Joann Clark

Foot Race: Chris Bovie, Skip Howard

Greening of Technology: Frank Raftery, Danuta Drozdowicz

Harry S Truman Manure Pitch-Off: Lance Gurney

Homebrewing Competition: Tom O’Connor, Bill Giffin

Information Booth: Sue Buck, David Hilton, Heather Karlson

Livestock: Cathy Reynolds, Greg Baker, Peter Rowe (Donkeys), Jan Rowe (Donkeys), David Stevens (Draft Horses), Lala Grindle (Fleece Show), Judy Kirk (Fleece Show), Dave McCullogh (Horses), Dwain Chase (Oxen), Wes Daniels (Oxen), Brian Perry (Oxen), Keith Worth (Oxen), Bill George (Poultry), Forrest Hooper (Poultry), Diana Whitehouse (Rabbits), Ansley Newton (Standard Bred Horses), Perley Emery (Rabbits), Myra Emery (Rabbits)

Maine Businesses: Ellis Percy

MOFGA Booth: Donna Bradstreet, Robert Martin

Native American Arts: Theresa Hoffman, Richard Silliboy

Northeast Historic Films: Jane Berry Donnell

Parking: Bill Bartlett, Dave Colson, Paul Volckhausen

Parking Lot Clean-up: Fred Pinnette

Permanent Site Fundraising: Mort Mather

Pig Calling Contest: Rums Percy

Recycling: BJ Jones, Steve Peary

Safety: David Blocher, Lucy Behnke, Mike Burns, Richard Dickey, Don Thalmert, Vernon Leeman

Social & Political Action: Betsy Hart, Dan Hamilton

Ticket Gate: Carol Dorr

Volunteers: Sue Dwyer, Tina Bernier, Lynda Hadsell

Wednesday Spinners: Mollie Birdsall, Cynthia Thayer

Whole Life Tent: Barbara Foust, Herb Brewer, Barbara Balkin

Winemaking Competition: Jonathan Bailey

Youth Enterprise Zone: Bob Egan


A Tribute to Newt Cochran
By Shawn McCole

Last year marked the passing of one of my favorite livestock demonstrators, Newt Cochran. At all the fairs I enjoyed seeing Newt pull in with his converted school bus, affectionately named “Newt’s Toybox,” cattle in the back and Newt’s home away from home in front.

Newt had a particular soft spot for Common Ground. He just shined when demonstrating how to handle a team of oxen, and he started the tradition of letting Fairgoers actually drive his team through an obstacle course. At his insistence everybody who tried got a blue ribbon.

Any time during the Fair, day or night, if you wandered into Newt’s bus he would ask if you were hungry, and if you were, he’d cook you one heck of a breakfast.

I met him many years ago at the Fair. I had just bought a black mare and wanted to have her trucked back to West Paris. Newt stepped right up and explained that he had two load of cattle to haul that night, but he’d haul her the next morning. I had to go to work early the next day, so I arranged for the mare to be watched overnight. I did wonder if he would make it, and when I got home, true to his word, there stood the mare in my barn, all for $15.00!

Now when I pull into a Fairgrounds with my horses, I still look to see where “Newt’s Toybox” is parked. Quickly I remember that my old friend is gone. God bless you Newt Cochran. We all miss you dearly.


Volunteer Donald Ketcham Recovering

Donald Ketcham of Farmington has been a volunteer at the Fair almost since he began to walk. Now 20 years old, he spent parts of the last two fairs demonstrating blacksmithing in the Folk Arts area, a skill he taught himself. This spring, in Idaho, he was riding a bicycle on a switchback when he had a head-on crash with a motorcycle. He was in a coma for five weeks. He is now recovering with the aid of a walker – and is riding a horse to improve his balance. We’re looking forward to seeing Donald at the Fair for many years to come, and we encourage those of you who have worked with him to stop by the Common Kitchen and leave notes and messages.


1997 CGCF Poster