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Common Ground Volunteers Are Amazing!
Another year in Unity is under our belts. The celebration grows not only in size, but in spirit, joy, diversity, comfort and enthusiasm -- thanks to the energy of our volunteers. We had a great year with more than 1500 volunteers on hand to coordinate the many facets of the event.
It's impossible to convey thanks worthy of all that the Fair volunteers do each year. And it's a cliche to say that the Fair wouldn't happen without them. We all know by now that volunteerism is the true essence of the Fair. Congratulations to all for the fine job that you did!
Here are just a few of the notable accomplishments of this year's esteemed volunteer community:
The Common Kitchen served almost 3,000 meals to hungry volunteers. CR Lawn's keynote address on global trends in large-scale agribusiness and grassroots efforts to combat them drew a five minute standing ovation from several hundred people in the Common. The Power and Water folks saved all of us around high noon on Saturday when we thought we were losing water pressure on the fairgrounds. Within about 10 minutes, the system was operating perfectly again. They did a wonderful job keeping the energy flowing to the many hundreds of exhibitors throughout the Fair. They also pieced together several sound systems, including a P.A., to amplify the many popular talks around the fairgrounds. Volunteers in the office handled an amazing number of inquiries this year, including a steady stream of fairgoers who needed to make phone calls. We are working hard to ensure that we have an adequate phone system in place for next year's Fair! The Recycling and Composting crew recovered 21,595.50 pounds of Fair-generated waste this year. Much of it will be composted for landscaping around the fairgrounds. On Saturday alone, the antique tractor shuttle drivers transported in excess of 8,000 fairgoers from the South Lot to the fairgrounds. The Country Store had a record day in sales on Saturday. MOFGA Booth folks brought the MOFGA membership to an all time high, signing up 298 new members, and renewing 102 memberships. The Safety, First Aid and Traffic folks did an absolutely wonderful job making sure that fairgoers had a comfortable and carefree visit to the Fair. More than one-third of all performances on the Fair stages and around the Fairgrounds were done by volunteer entertainers. Veteran ticket seller Skip Green sold over a thousand tickets in one day. Donkey and Mule enthusiasts created a new Show on Friday in the Show Ring this year to complement Saturday's Standardbred Show and Sunday's Draft Horse Show. Our webmaster, Eric Rector, posted hourly updates of Fair activities, weather and traffic all weekend. He noted that our website got close to 100,000 hits in the month of September! Wow!
Ideas for the continuing improvement of the Fair and fairgrounds are rolling in. We have had several planning meetings already to address traffic and parking, safety, signs, and food for next year. Many more planning sessions are scheduled for the coming months. We are always looking for new energy from volunteers who want to become more involved in the planning processes. If you are interested in joining the Fair Planning Team, or if you have some suggestions for improving any aspect of the Fair, don't hesitate to contact me by phone (207-568-4142), email (), snail mail (PO Box 170, Unity, ME 04988) or better yet, by dropping by the MOFGA headquarters some day.
Congratulations and a heart-felt thank you to all the volunteers. I really enjoy working with each of you!
Report from the Common KitchenThis was a wonderful year for the Common Kitchen. We had super volunteers, some of whom returned on their own after their four-hour shift, to continue to work and be part of the creativity and camaraderie that blossoms in the intense, high production experience that defines the Kitchen during the Fair.
One of our most successful soups this year was a lamb-squash stew that received many raves. In addition we received kudos for a delectable dessert -- an apple-honey cake created by the Corkery sisters, Maria and Cathy, and friend Holly Hurd-Forsygh.
If you're planning to feed a hungry mob, you may wish to consider this recipe:
Lamb-Squash Stew for 50
10 braised lamb shanks
Boil until meat falls off the bone.
5 lbs. onions, sautéed until just turning brown
Place vegetables and rosemary in liquid with meat pieces. Cook under medium heat until squash softens and thickens soup. Add salt, black pepper, garlic powder and ground ginger to taste. Let stew set for at least 15 minutes before serving (if possible)!
We are always looking for volunteers with restaurant or cooking experience for the Fair. Please share your expertise with us next year.
Thank you to all the loyal volunteers who return year after year and give us their hard work and friendship.
Common Kitchen ThanksMOFGA makes my job easier every year. In 1990, we had one page of certified growers. Now there are five pages. Natural food stores are on the increase, and traditional farmers and the public are starting to see the light. Also, the variety of foods donated is increasing. The Common Kitchen (thanks to the Terhune family) is getting more self sufficient. We get milk from cows and goats on the fairgrounds, and separate it so that we can make our own yogurt and butter, and have lots of rich cream left over.
As coordinators, we are in seventh heaven with the new kitchen after all those years in Windsor. We served about 2500 meals this year and 390 at Saturday night’s supper. We are maxed out on dishwashing, however, and are hoping to come up with a big dishwasher (Hobart).
So, now to the important part of this message. Everyone this year was more generous than ever. Having more certified growers means that individual growers don’t get hit up for donations so hard. So thanks to all for their generosity. If I missed anybody in the list below, thanks to you too!
For the 2001 Fair, we’d like to get more variety in fruit. Also, we need eggs. If a lot of people gave us just five dozen each, we’d be all set; we need about 75 dozen total. Feel free to contact MOFGA to offer help.
Donors to the 2000 Common Ground Common KitchenRed Hill Natural Foods, Rumford
Thyme Square, Winthrop
Axis Natural Foods, Auburn
Rising Tide Co-op, Damariscotta
Belfast Co-op, Belfast
Royal River Natural Foods, Freeport
Natural Living Center, Brewer
Whole Grocer, Portland
Nature’s Choice, Camden
Main Street Market, Unity
Good Tern, Rockland
Nezinscot Farm, Turner
Morning Dew, Bridgton
The Good Food Store, Bethel
Hampden Natural Food, Hampden
McCormicks Thriftway, Unity
Black Crow Bakery, Litchfield
Borealis Bakeries, Waldoboro
Slate’s Bakery, Hallowell
Little Lads Basket Bakery, E. Corinth
Pasta Fixe/Food for All, Brooks
Betsey’s Blueberry Butter, Hartford
Maine Maple Products, Skowhegan
State O’ Maine Cheese, Rockport
Avena Botanicals, Rockport
Oyster Creek Mushrooms, Damariscotta
Bouchard Family Farm, Fort Kent
RB Swans Honey, Brewer
Morgans Mills, Union
Steve Aucoin, Leeds
Grandy Oats Granola, Bridgton
Black Bear Food Guild, UMO
Blessed Maine Herb Farm, Athens
Sewall’s Orchards, Lincolnville
Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, Franklin
Fiddler’s Green, Belfast
United Society of Shakers, New Gloucester
Wolfe Neck Farm, Freeport
Apple Farm, Skowhegan
Kathy Berube, Freedom
St. George Farm, Wiscasset
Tin Smith, Wells
Levesque’s Organic Farm, Leeds
Happytown Farm, Orland
Hedgehog Hill Farm, Buckfield
Rosey Guest, Bluebird Hill Farm, Jefferson
Woodcock Farm, Bath
Whitehill Farm, Wilton
Half Moon Farm, Freedom
Willow Pond Farm, Sabattus
David and Penny Hilton, New Gloucester
Ricker’s Orchard, Turner
Bob’s Farm, Yarmouth
Farm for the Fat & Aged, Palermo
Darthia Farm, Gouldsboro
Patchwork Farm, Brunswick
Part ‘n Parcel Farm, Dixmont
Sand Hill Farm, Somerville
Pleasant Valley Acres, Cumberland Center
Barbara Eggert, Bucksport
King Hill Farm, Penobscot
Poverty Hill Rabbits, Perley Emery
Hidden Valley Farm, Alna
New Leaf Farm, Durham
Peacemeal Farm, Dixmont
Ann & Albert Allen
Sagadahoc MOFGA Chapter
Yellow Birch Farm
Hoof n’ Paw Farm, New Sharon
Horsepower Farm, Penobscot
Martha Gottlieb, Whitefield
Mysty Mountain Farm, Turner
Beech Hill Farm, Mt. Desert
Chuck Snell, Kingfield
Spruce Bush Farm
Julie Bell Wilcott
Shore Road Farm
Mess o’ Mussels
Skylandia Organic, Grand Isle
Four Season Farm
School Around Us
Diodem B. Strait
Mothers Mountain Mustard, Falmouth
Sue and Peter Curra, Curravale Farm, Thorndike
Little River Flower Farm, Buxton
Transcripts and Videos of Keynote Address by CR Lawn AvailableThis year's keynote address by CR Lawn was riveting. CR spoke about recent developments in global agribusiness that have serious implications for the safety of our food supply and our real social security -- healthy seeds and healthy soils. Several hundred people gathered on the Common to hear what CR had to say, and delivered back to him a five minute standing ovation. Audio and videotapes as well as transcripts are available from MOFGA. For more information, call 207-568-4142.
Thanks to the Advance Sale Ticket OutletsMany thanks to all of the businesses that sold Advance Tickets to the 1999 Common Ground Country Fair. Selling tickets in advance is a great service to fairgoers who can walk right to the front of the line and spend all of their time at the Fair, rather than waiting to buy tickets. We hope that by selling Advance Tickets you got some new customers who have become regular customers. Ticket sales not only support the Common Ground Country Fair itself, but also contribute to many of MOFGA's year-round programs, such as organic certification, apprenticeship, technical services and more. Best wishes for a successful business year. We hope to work with you again next year.
Allan's Natural Foods - Sanford
Exhibition Hall Winners
MOFGA Chapter Award - Waldo County Organic Growers
Farm Exhibit Award - The Farmer's Wife, Ron & Nancy Agnew of Exeter
Most Educational Exhibit Award - Oyster Creek Mushroom Company, Dan & Candace Heydon of Damariscotta
Children's Apple Pie Contest
Biggest Pumpkin - 68#
Biggest Zucchini - 19#
Fleece Show WinnersWhite Fine
1st - Joe Miller
Harry S. Truman Manure Toss - Winners ReportEvent: 4-Foot-Wide "Bed Spread"
1st Place - Dick Hall from Portland - Score 672
2nd Place - Seth Bosdell from Skowhegan - Score 372
3rd Place - Tyler Finley from Skowhegan - Score 336
Event: 12 & Under - 25 lb. 10-foot toss
Event: Women's 25 lb. 15-foot toss
Event: Men's 25 lb. 15-foot toss
Event: 12 & Under Throw for Distance
Event: Women's Throw for Distance
Event: Men's Throw for Distance
Draft Horse Show Results
Judge: Jim Bunn from Garland
Class 1 - Jr. Showmanship
Class 2 - Gelding under 1700 lbs
Class 3 - Geldings over 1700 lbs
Class 4 - Grand Champion Gelding
Class 5 - Stallions
Class 6 - Grand Champion Stallion
Class 7 - Brood Mare & Foal
Class 8 - Mares 2 years & under
Class 9 - Mares 3 years & over
Class 10 - Grand Champion Mare
Class 11 - Bred, Raised & Owned By Exhibitor
Class 12 - Best Footed Horse
Class 13 - Best Horse Of Show
Class 14 - Mules
Class 15 - Donkeys
Class 16 - Bareback Riding
1st - Sonny-Stratton
Class 17 - Cart - Mules
Class 18 - Cart
Class 19 - Pair In Harness
1st - Sonny & Tony-Stratton
Class 20 - Pair Scooting
Class 21 - Single Twitching
Class 22 - Teamster Of The Day
Oxen PullJudges of this year's Oxen Show chose Wes Daniel as the Outstanding Teamster. Wes has been a long-time exhibitor at the Common Ground Country Fair, and has worked hard to promote animal exhibits, contests and shows. Congratulations Wes on a job well done!
5K Foot RaceThis year's 5K Foot Race had 88 finishers beating the raindrops! The showers held off until well after the race was over, and the race had its largest number of participants and entrants in three years. This year we had runners from as far away as Clive, Iowa, and Canton, New York, along with Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This year awards were given to the 1st and 2nd overall male and female runners and the first MOFGA male and female runners, along with 1st and 2nd male and female runners in 7 different age groups.
First overall male winner was Shaun Keenan of Somerville in 17:43 and first female overall finisher was Tamika Davis of Worcester, Mass., in 21:29. The 2nd place overall winners were Andrew Crawford of Burlington, Vt., a mere 2 seconds behind the winner, in 17:45, and Beth Allen of Farmington in 22:23.
The MOFGA winners were Marada Cook of Grande Isle in 24:44 and Bill MacDonald of Winthrop in 21:49.
The various age group winners and 2nd place finishers were as follows:
1st Place 19 & under
2nd Place 19 & under
1st Place 20-29
2nd Place 20-29
1st Place 30-39
2nd Place 30-39
1st Place 40-49
2nd Place 40-49
1st Place 50-59
2nd Place 50-59
1st Place 60-69
1st Place 70 +
Apply to Participate in the 2001 FairAnyone who is interested in applying for booth space at the 2001 Common Ground Country Fair should notify the Fair office as soon as possible. Each area of the Fair has specific guidelines for participation. The Fair office will mail information, applications and/or guidelines for areas (with the exception of the Food Area) in early 2001. Food applications are due in mid-December but may be considered after the deadline if accompanied by a $50.00 late fee. Deadlines for other vendor areas will be scheduled for early Spring. Participation in most educational areas is considered on a rolling basis. There are many areas, both commercial and educational, in which people can participate. Here is a brief description of the existing areas of the Fair:
Agricultural Booths: exhibits of food or fiber, and products related to their production.
Agricultural Demonstrations: educational talks, demonstrations and displays about food production and preservation.
Animal Products: livestock owners demonstrate and sell the useful and beautiful products of their animals. Animals on display as part of the educational exhibits include llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, rabbits, cows, and other farmyard friends.
Children's Area: activities from paper-making to parades, sing-a-longs to stilt-walking. Parent/child area; the Fair does not provide child care. Composting & Recycling: the Zero Garbage Project volunteers meticulously separate all garbage generated at the Fair and reduce discards to an absolute minimum.
Country Store: purchase Fair memorabilia, such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, aprons, tote bags, caps and nightshirts. Crafts: exhibitors are selected based on their skill, quality, ingenuity, representation of New England traditions and use of Maine's natural resources.
Energy & Shelter: demonstrations and exhibits about old and new technologies used to heat and cool buildings and supply them with light; presentations about developments in sustainable transportation and fuel efficiency.
Entertainment: Maine entertainers from drummers to jugglers, Morris dancers to fiddlers and contra dancers perform all over the fairgrounds. Environmental Concerns: Maine-based organizations focus on environmental, wildlife, and marine concerns.
Exhibition Hall: Maine farmers, gardeners, and crafters display the fruits of their labor, from antique squash varieties and giant pumpkins to wooden toys and fancy work.
Farmers' Market: Maine farmers sell organic produce and products from their own farms.
Fiddle Contest: Fiddlers come from near and far and perform old country jigs, reels and waltz tunes for cash prizes.
Fleece Show and Sale: fleeces of all varieties for sale each day, scheduled demonstrations about selecting fleeces to suit specific needs, as well as fleece washing techniques. An educational show takes place at 10 am on Saturday.
Folk Arts: demonstrations of the arts and skills used for survival in the past, and for pleasure now.
Food: the reason many people come to the Fair. Great, delicious, nutritious and extraordinary -- featuring Maine organic ingredients.
Foot Race: a 5K event open to all ages. Racers get a Fair T-shirt and admission to the Fair.
Harry S. Truman Manure Pitch-off: fairgoers can compete for distance and accuracy in this popular event.
Herb Talks: herbalists explain how to grow, prepare, preserve and use herbs. Information Booth: offering information about Fair vendors, exhibitors, building locations, presentations, contests and anything else relating to the Fair.
Livestock: talk to farm animal owners, and watch demonstrations and shows, such as Oxen Scooting Contests, the Donkey, Mule and Pony Show (Friday), the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Show (Saturday), and the Draft Horse Show (Sunday). See a great variety of domestic fowl in the Poultry Barn, and lots of rabbits in the Rabbit Tent. Pigs, sheep, goats and other farm critters are on display too.
Low-Impact Forestry: logging and forestry groups discuss sustainable forestry practices in Maine, and offer hands-on workshops and demonstrations in MOFGA's woodlot.
Maine Businesses: owners of Maine's environmentally-friendly, small businesses, media outlets and cottage industries sell their goods and educate fairgoers about their manufacturing processes.
MOFGA Booth: learn about MOFGA's goals and philosophy, organic certification program, journeyperson and apprenticeship programs, agricultural policy initiatives, fundraising efforts, and membership benefits.
Native American Arts & Education: demonstrations and sales of Native American art by Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot artisans. Public Policy Teach-In: Experts in agricultural policy initiatives sit on a panel and discuss pressing issues relating to farming, gardening and large-scale agribusiness.
Recycling and Composting: Fair volunteers sort through the entire Fair waste stream separating out recyclable and compostable materials. The Fair has a goal of Zero Garbage Generation. Our best recovery rate thus far is 93.4%.
Sheep Dog Demonstrations: border collies herd sheep and work through impressive routines. David Kennard explains how important herding dogs are to sheep owners. Audience participation is encouraged and is very entertaining.
Social and Political Action Area: local organizations provide information on issues of peace and justice, social equality, civil/human rights and environmental politics.
Stoneworkers: the Maine Stoneworkers Guild demonstrates the art of stone cutting and carving, workshops are scheduled for fairgoers young and old. Wednesday Spinners: expert fiber spinners demonstrate traditional and modern spinning techniques using a variety of fibers, plus dyeing and weaving.
Whole Life Tent: presentations and workshops on physical, mental and spiritual health.
Youth Enterprise Zone: entrepreneurial kids flex their business skills, selling products and services that meet the guidelines of other areas.
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