Shlomit Auciello “The Fair”

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

My favorite volunteer gig for the Fair is what I call “the Rose Gate Wrangler.” I got up very early: When the sheep bells started ringing really loud and the rooster started crowing, I knew it was time to get out of bed. And I’d get out of my tent and I’d walk down to the Rose Gate. From about 5:30 to 6 o’clock on, I was there to make sure that the people coming onto the fairgrounds before the Fair opened were there to work and that they had a pass of some kind. The people who made the Fair happen needed the space and time to do that. There were vehicles running around. There would be cursing going on … it’s like backstage. And somebody, meaning me in this particular situation, had to find a way to convince the early-arriving fairgoers that it’s really ok for them to wait. And sometimes it’s pouring rain. I found myself wanting to find creative ways to let them know that the Fair was coming together just for them and, if they’d only be patient, it would be an awesome day. It was really fun to do that – I was like a rodeo clown. At 9 o’clock we moved the gates around so people could come in and I’d go walking down this long line of people that stretched from the Rose Gate to Crosby Brook Road and say, “Welcome to Common Ground Country Fair.” It felt like such a wonderful job to be able to be the first face people saw, saying, “Come on in.”

Shlomit Auciello

Thomaston, Maine

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