Avery Yale Kamila “The Fair”

Avery’s mother, Terry Yale, at the family’s Sunshine Farm booth at the first Common Ground Country Fair in 1977 in Litchfield.

This story appeared in the 2020-2021 winter issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme, “The Fair.”

My favorite memory of the Fair is not so much a specific incident but rather a feeling. It’s a rhythmic sense of contentment and connectedness that washes over me every time I attend the Fair. It’s the crisp fall air filled with wood smoke, hot oil and the aroma of Sweet Annie. It’s the beat of the music and the sound of the speakers’ voices. It’s the familiar faces of people I’ve never met before but somehow feel I know. These aren’t strangers. These are my people. I feel it with every breath and every step. I remember being at the first Fair in Litchfield where my parents sold produce from our small, organic farm, and I flitted among the nearby booths and displays feeling like there was so much to see and explore. I was only 4 that first year. I also remember from the Litchfield days a children’s maze marked out with bailing twine and buying small, colored glass pebbles. In recent years, my Fair visits have been influenced by my young son, and I’ve now spent many happy hours at the Fair watching children line up and then launch themselves off the hay bale, pound nails into boards and make nature-themed crafts. And once I leave the Fair, it continues to swirl in my thoughts. I think of the Common Ground Fair every time I see the posters displayed, spot someone wearing a Fair T-shirt or hang my Christmas tree ornaments, many of which have been purchased from artists at the Fair. Each sight reminds me of all the happy times I’ve spent at the Fair over the years. And each reminder makes that rhythmic beat, that feeling of connection come alive again for a brief moment. It’s the feeling of being home. It’s the feeling of Common Ground.

Avery Yale Kamila

Portland, Maine

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