By Kami Pendleton
Everyone comes to the Common Ground Country Fair for a reason. Whether for the food, the animals, the agriculture or the crafts, you can always learn something new here. The Fair is about education and appreciation.
I have been coming to the Fair almost all my life, but I had a chance to view it through new eyes – that is, through my camera – this year, as I photographed the event for part of my internship through Nokomis Regional High School. In doing this project, I drew on the skills I gained at a summer workshop at the Maine Media College.
These pictures give a taste of what goes on at the Fair – but not until I finished examining (repeatedly!), selecting and editing from among the hundreds of photos I took over the three-day event did I realize how much actually goes on there. The amount of diversity and number of people are almost overwhelming. With more than 700 talks, demonstrations and workshops, not to mention vendors’ booths – and friends – seeing the Fair in one day is impossible.
The work that goes on before and after the event is even more amazing. Being the child of two MOFGA staff members, I know all about the long, stressful hours in the days and months before the Fair. The results are fantastic!
What makes the Common Ground Country Fair really special is that it pulls together people from all around the country (and even from other countries) who have the same belief in the way they should live their lives – in honest, clean living, which is such an interesting prospect in today’s mostly manufactured world.
The Fair really represents Maine living – its rural-based skills and values, alternative energy, growing your own food … These have given the event a reputation for being a “hippie” fair. But the Common Ground Country Fair is like nothing else, and that’s why it draws so many people, of all kinds. You’ll always see something new, year after year. You experience the Fair, and you can volunteer to be a part of it.
The Fair generates a good vibe that comes from farmers, gardeners and vendors alike who all believe in this one thing: the idea that you can make it yourself, use it again, recycle it, make it into something else – and celebrate it at the Fair, and spread it through the generations.
Maine’s slogan is “The way life should be,” and the Common Ground Country Fair embodies that. The learning, teaching and experiencing put us all on common ground and make the Fair a truly ageless and eclectic event.