Explore the Fair

Explore the Common Ground Country Fair

Learn

Whether you are an experienced farmer or gardener looking for insight on a specific topic, a new farmer with questions about business or access to land, or a homesteader looking to diversify your operation, our presenters are ready to share a wealth of agricultural experience and knowledge.

Ride your bike to Common Ground, have the volunteer bike valet park it for you, and get $2 off admission to the Fair. This area is also a great place to learn about bike maintenance, Maine bike laws, and how to advocate for safe roads for cycling in your community. Enjoy our People-powered Bike Parade at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day of the Fair. Check the schedule of events for talks and forum topics relating to bikes.

“Strike while the iron is hot!” At the Blacksmith Shop, skilled smiths  use a coal-fired forge to heat steel red hot, then shape it with hammers into farm implements, tools, kitchen utensils, hardware (hinges and latches for doors) and other goods.

Creative experts in food harvesting, storing, preserving and cooking offer fairgoers classes and demonstrations in a mini-kitchen. This area particularly promotes using local ingredients and presents fairgoers with insights and skills they can practice in their own home kitchens.

Maine-based organizations focus on environmental, wildlife and marine concerns. Learn about the great work happening in Maine and around the globe and how you can get involved.

Artisans skilled in traditional folk arts, from the survival skills of Maine guides to artisans of country life, demonstrate and offer workshops on their skills and craft. Exhibits in tents include woods crafts, such as canoe building; domestic arts, such as quilting and basketmaking; and rug hooking, among many others. The Maine Folk Traditions Tent features traditional music and dance from Maine’s rich heritage. The ever-popular bean-hole beans are served on Friday at 11 a.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at noon. The Folk Arts Area also hosts international folk dancing and community contradances.

Information, education, discussion and ongoing presentations on health issues, topics and insights for a healthy lifestyle. The Health and Healing Area hosts organizations, businesses and individuals who represent a broad spectrum of subjects pertaining to soundness of body, mind and soul, and to healing, wellbeing and other health-related issues.

Experienced herbalists offer a variety of talks and demonstrations on growing, preparing, preserving and using herbs. Check the schedule for talks about wellness, medicinal mushrooms, herbs to counter anxiety, herbal first aid, gut-friendly edible weeds, invasive plants as medicine, and more. Be sure to visit the medicinal herb garden across from the Herb Tent.

Looking for the location of a particular exhibitor? Wondering where to find your favorite food? Want the location or time of a talk, demonstration or band? The Information Booth has a complete participant list, schedule changes and updates, maps and answers.

The Livestock Area at the Fair presents attractive and educational exhibits of livestock raised on Maine farms, as well as numerous livestock presentations and workshops daily. Speak with farm animal owners and watch draft power demonstrations and shows, including the Oxen Scooting Contest, in the Large Livestock Demo Area; and a Donkey and Mule Show (Saturday) and Draft Horse Show (Sunday) in the Show Ring. See a variety of domestic fowl in the Poultry Barn and a tremendous collection of rabbits in the Rabbit Barn. Sheep, goats and other farm critters are in residence too. Learn more about raising your own livestock at educational talks and demonstrations at the Round Pen and in the Livestock Speakers’ Tent.

Thousands of fairgoers file through MOFGA’s woodlot, passing through the forestry demonstrations on their way to the ticket gate. Many quickly return to the woods to take part in or at least observe the hands-on workshops and demonstrations in our woodlot and to hear talks in the Low-Impact Forestry Speakers’ Tent on sustainable forestry practices appropriate for Maine.

Learn about MOFGA’s mission and work – the organic certification program; journeyperson and apprenticeship new farmer training programs; agricultural policy initiatives; organic farming, livestock and gardening extension services; workshops; conferences; educational offerings; the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee; and how you can get involved. Come here to meet MOFGA staff members during their scheduled presentations or to pick up literature, fact sheets, staff contact information and more. You can join MOFGA here, too!

Reiki practitioners use palm healing or hands-on healing to transfer a “universal energy” through their palms to another person in order to encourage emotional or physical healing. Enjoy complimentary Reike sessions any day during the Fair in the Reike Tent, adjacent to the Whole Life Area.

More than a demonstration, John Simmons puts his  border collies to work and explains how important herding dogs are to livestock owners and what the dogs are thinking. Learn to appreciate the dogs’ uncanny ability to anticipate, and laugh at the antics of farm stock that want to go anywhere other than where the farmer points.  Each day at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

Local organizations provide information on issues of sustainable communities, peace and justice, social equality, civil and human rights and environmental politics. The area serves as common ground where a wide variety of organizations explore shared values and possible areas of cooperation; encourage environmental protection and a respect for all living things; enable people to earn a living through their work and develop their potential as human beings; support public policy that promotes these objectives; and educate about injustices and provide opportunities to help right these injustices.

Members of the Maine Stoneworkers Guild demonstrate the art of stone cutting and carving. Workshops for fairgoers young and old take place here throughout the weekend.

With more than 700 years of cumulative experience, expert fiber spinners demonstrate traditional and modern spinning, dyeing and weaving techniques using a variety of fibers. The Wednesday Spinners, gutsy Down East women who spin every Wednesday at each other’s homes, have been spinning together as a group at the Common Ground Country Fair since 1978. They demonstrate all manner of methods of working with fiber continuously throughout all three Fair days. Enjoy demos about choosing a wool fleece, preparing wool fleece to spin, carding wool, spinning on a drop spindle or on a contemporary wheel or other wheels, preparing and spinning flax, knitting and crocheting, dyeing and more. Bring your wheel or drop spindle to join them. Demonstrations occur every day on the EarthLoom, a symbol planted in the ground with the intention of weaving together the fabric of community. 

Presentations and workshops on physical, mental and spiritual health, on topics that enhance our relationship with body, mind and spirit. This area covers a wide variety of approaches to healing, wellness, overcoming emotional obstacles, and developing intuition, wisdom and understanding of what is needed for body, mind, spirit and emotional balance.

The Woods gives young (and old!) fairgoers an opportunity to experience outdoors projects and skills with of some of Maine’s best wilderness adventure and outdoor education groups.

An exciting resource for teachers, families and students to learn and share information and ideas about farm-to-school programs and school gardens, as well as Maine schools, camps and programs that promote healthy and active lifestyles. Learn about and network with individuals and organizations knowledgeable about experiential education and active healthy lifestyles for Maine’s youth. Find out more information on all the programs your kids are talking about!

Shop

Family farms selling agricultural products made on their farms, and suppliers of products for farms and gardens. This is a great area to find farm-made soaps, herbs and herbal tinctures, seed companies, dried flowers, gourds, maple products, compost, bonsai, fiber arts and more.

Purchase Fair memorabilia, organic cotton T-shirts, sweatshirts, aprons, tote bags, note cards, posters, caps, nightshirts and select MOFGA items for year-round display of support.

Maine artisans, selected based on their skill, product quality, ingenuity and use of Maine’s natural resources, make up this premier craft show. This is one of the largest commercial areas at the Fair. In this juried show, MOFGA gives preference to vendors who use non-polluting, organic materials and processes whenever possible.

Meet some of Maine’s leading practitioners and suppliers in the sustainable building and energy trades. See demonstrations and exhibits featuring old and new technologies used to heat, cool and light buildings; and presentations about developments in building science, sustainable design and construction, and energy efficiency.

Browse vendors demonstrating and selling technologies and equipment appropriate to the home gardener and small-scale farmer or check out the Farm & Homestead Speakers tent for talks and presentations on homesteading and small farm topics. The Farm & Homestead area also hosts a small children’s area where kids can engage with homesteading crafts like carding wool or making applesauce.

Come see what’s growing organically in Maine! The Farmers’ Markets are vibrant showcases for organic fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, dairy and other farm goods produced throughout the state. Discover a new vegetable, purchase rare seeds, sample a sausage or try an heirloom fruit. We have two farmers’ markets – one at each main entrance to the Fair, the Pine Gate in the south and the Rose Gate in the north.

Located adjacent to the Fleece Tent and the Wednesday Spinners Tent, the Fiber Marketplace provides an outlet for Maine businesses that cater to the small fiber producer and fiber user to sell their products, equipment or services. In addition, it is a venue for educational activities related to fiber, including spinning, dyeing, weaving, fiber care and sheep breeds.

Fleeces of all varieties are for sale each day – plus resources on local fiber producers, scheduled demonstrations about selecting fleeces to suit specific needs, and a Fleece Show celebrating the best of the Fair. If you want to purchase fleece, to learn more about fleece, or are an avid fiber enthusiast, the Fleece Tent is the place for you. It is a destination for fairgoers looking for the best of Maine-produced fiber. Check the schedule for fiber-related talks all three days of the Fair – at the Speakers Tent right outside the Fleece Tent.

The food vendors at the Common Ground Country Fair are a vibrant representation of MOFGA’s work to promote organic agriculture and, whenever possible, Maine-based. We give preference to vendors serving organic meals and require vendors to use Maine-grown organic ingredients when available. We work closely with vendors to help them connect with local organic growers. We also support sustainable local seafood and honey sourcing. Standards for food vending at the Common Ground Country Fair are high with an unparalleled variety of delicious foods.

Livestock owners demonstrate and sell useful and beautiful products of their animals. Animals displayed as part of educational exhibits include llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats and rabbits. Everyone is welcome to visit the animals and see the wonderful products that farmers have created with fiber from them.

Sales of handcrafted traditional Maine Native American baskets and products by Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot artisans, plus demonstrations, presentations and music. Members of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance organize this area to help preserve the basketmaking traditions of these Maine tribes. The area also promotes other native artwork and culture, such as beadwork, woodcarvings, moose hide drums, birch bark, beaded and quill jewelry, Native American drumming and singing in native Wabanaki languages, and traditional and newer styles of native dancing and dress. The Maine Indian Basketmakers also promote Native American businesses that use traditional formulas based on cultural values, adapted to modern day production, and that meet the goals and objectives of MOFGA by encouraging the revival of agriculturally based rural communities. The area seeks to promote a better understanding and appreciation of Maine Native people and culture through educational displays with historical references.

A vibrant marketplace of small Maine enterprises and cottage industries working and creating locally. These businesses buy materials locally and as sustainably as possible and make valued-added items. It is open to Maine-based businesses that are creating goods or services in the state, and to a few non-Maine businesses with services that are unique, not available in Maine and that fit with the mission and purpose of MOFGA and Common Ground.

Entrepreneurial kids flex their business skills selling products and services that meet the guidelines of other areas. Friday and Sunday only! The Common Ground Country Fair helps shape the future in the Youth Enterprise Zone (YEZ) and the Youth Enterprise Transition Zone (YETZ), where young entrepreneurs combine their exuberant creativity with the bounty of nature, be it metal, fiber, wood, glass, plants or food. Come see what the next generation have their hands into this year, from handmade books to beeswax candles, clothing to cutting boards, jewelry to juggling balls, and more. 

Participate

Come to the Children’s Area for fun and educational activities for all ages – including the Vegetable Garden Parade daily at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (meet 10 minutes early to dress). Often referred to as “The Fair Within The Fair,” the Children’s Area is an absolutely wonderful, exciting, fun-filled and educational venue, offering endless activities and entertainment. 

Curious about how volunteers help us recycle over 3,500 pounds of discarded items and compost over 100 yards of biological matter? Come see how this integral area supports over 60,000 fairgoers. Learn from educational talks and demonstrations how to reduce your impact. The Composting and Recycling team is working toward our ongoing goal of a zero-waste fair. Help our volunteers by pre-sorting your trash at sorting stations throughout the fairgrounds.  

The only organic foot race in Maine! The race is on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. and is open to runners and walkers of all ages.  Registration will open in summer 2021.

Saturday morning in the Show Ring. We are loving creatures who want to please and are willing to do the unusual biddings of these folks. Watch us jump, pull wagons and haul logs, carry our servants on our backs, follow them around obstacles and encourage them to play silly games. Come to our show and join the fun! HEE-HAW!

Sunday in the Show Ring, come and see the beauty, intelligence and versatility of draft horses. Watch as they compete in cart classes, obstacle courses and bareback riding.

Maine farmers, gardeners and crafters display the fruits of their labor, from heirloom varieties and giant pumpkins to photos and fancy work. The volunteers also host a Seed Swap on Sunday of the Fair. Interested in showing off the prized vegetables, delectable fruits and awesome products you’ve raised? Exhibition Hall Guidelines will be posted here in spring 2021.

Our amphitheater, spotlight stage and children’s sunflower stage highlight talented local performers and musicians throughout the Fair weekend. The full schedule of entertainment will be available in August 2021.

Daily contradances in the Maine Folk Traditions Tent, open to all, feature some of Maine’s best fiddle talents and dance callers. On Sunday, fiddlers from near and far showcase their talent – playing old country jigs, reels and waltz tunes – for the enjoyment of all.

On Saturday and Sunday, enter the Harry S. Truman Manure Pitch contests, one for distance and the other for accuracy. Participation is limited, so sign up early on the day of the contest if you want to compete. Come by if you want to cheer.

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