This Week in Lincolnville: A Trip to the Fair

The Common Ground
Sun, 09/24/2023 - 9:00pm

    Saturday morning, we packed the children, no longer small, into the car for the trip to the inland Waldo County town of Unity. As we have nearly every late September since they were born. It was time for The Common Ground Country Fair.

    The Common Ground, run by the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA) dates back to 1977, where it debuted at the Litchfield Fairground. The inaugural fair boasted the famed back-to-the-landers Helen and Scott Nearing as speakers.

    Moving from the Litchfield Fairgrounds in 1981 to the Windsor Fairgrounds, it finally settle on its very own plot of land in Unity in 1996. I recall that first year in Unity being a bit of a barren wasteland; since that time the land has evolved into a beautiful well-landscaped setting, the perfect place to host such an event.

    You won’t find bumper cars or The Zipper at this fair, but you will find a hill where children slide on pieces of recycled cardboard, not to mention a long standing tradition of logs which children can hammer nails into. Simple joys.

    See, The Common Ground is a celebration of simple farming life, The food options, of which there are many, follow strict guidelines- everything is organic, and as local as possible. For many years, such things as coffee were prohibited, until Fair Trade coffee was finally accepted- judging from the line at the Rock City Roaster’s truck, this was much welcomed by fair goers.

    Local craftspeople – potters, jewelry makers, artists of all stripes ply their wares under tents. Small Maine businesses make connections. I always enjoy walking by the vendors selling saw-mills: there is always a group of men-of-a-certain-age gathered around the vendor. Several years ago my own father-in-law was one of those men, and today I have benefited many times over from his ability to make custom boards for the various projects he and his daughter undertake around our old place.

    I have been going since the very beginning, with a distinct memory of getting lost at one of the early Litchfield fairs. I reached for my mom’s leg to find that the leg did not belong to my mom. Rescued by fair volunteers, I must have at least been able to give my name, and my parents were called over the loudspeakers. Hmm.. the current fair lacks loudspeakers- what happens with lost children in 2023?

    Wandering with my wife- the children off on their own- admiring the animals, my wife again declaring that we need to raise pigs- thankful she seems, for now, to have let go of the dream of a flock of alpacas in the back field. The sheep dog demonstration, always a favorite, watching dogs work for a living. I always make sure to tell my spoiled pups all about them when we return home.

    And scattered amongst the crowd, familiar faces. A much loved teacher, the potter who we have bought pieces from at the fair for years, my niece, a Lincolnville girl at her first year at Bowdoin, introducing us to her new friends, young women from away, who she is sharing the Fair with.

    The Common Ground Country Fair is a unique experience. You are forced to think of our agrarian past, particularly thanks to the demonstrations of livestock driven farm equipment. Sure the political action tents have a certain leftward bent but the you can stay out of those if you so desire, and all are welcome at the fair.

    Fuzzy Memories Response

    A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my fuzzy memories of local businesses, which granted a lot of response on Facebook and in person. I had a great discussion with Danny and Susan and a customer at Western Auto about Burns Buttery, the Bald Rock Market (was the official name of Henry Bovine’s store), and Bill Hemingway’s elusive takeout on the beach. Still looking for any pictures of these or other old businesses in town.

    Art Works for Humanity

    From September 29 to October 1, 27 artists will be painting en plein-air (painting outside) around Waldo County. On Sunday, October 1st, an auction will be held at the Belfast Boathouse  from 4-6, with a painting from each artist. 50% of the proceeds will go to the artist with the other 50% going to Waldo County Habitat for Humanity.

    Habitat for Humanity builds homes for eligible low income families who take an active role in the construction of the home themselves with volunteers. With the state of housing in the Midcoast, I am pleased to see Waldo County’s Habitat for Humanity program get it’s start.

    Pysanky at the Library

    Learn the Ukranian art of Pysanki at the library. Pysanki is technique for decorating eggs by drawing on them with wax and dyeing them- it’s a little hard to explain, but the results are super-cool. Two adult sessions will be held, from 6-8pm on October 3rd and 10th. There is a $10 fee for supplies. Classes for children aged 8-12 will be held on October 14th and 21st from 10a.m. to noon.

    Additionally, on Wednesday, September 27, a representative from Spectrum Generations will be at the library at 6:30p.m. to give an informational talk on Medicare.

    So Lincolnville, as we move into October, I would love to hear any spooky tales you might have from town, in anticipation of an article about Lincolnville ghost stories later this month. In the meantime do good and be good.


    Monday, September 25

    Historical Society Museum open 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road

    Select Board Meeting, 6 p.m., Town Office

    Tuesday, September 26

    Library open 3-6 p.m. 208 Main Street

    AA Meeting 12 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road

    Lakes and Ponds Committee, 7 p.m., Town Office

    Wednesday, September 27

    Historical Society Museum open 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road

    Library open 2-5 p.m. 

    Planning Board Committee, 7p.m., Town Office

    Thursday, September 28

    Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, 6:30 p.m., Town Office

    Friday, September 29

    AA Meeting 12 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road

    Library open 9-12, 208 Main Street

    Historical Society Museum open 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road

    Saturday, September 30

    Library open 9-12, 208 Main Street

    Sunday, October 1

    United Christian Church, 9:30 a.m. Worship, 18 Searsmont Road

    Bayshore Baptist Church, 9:30 a.m. Sunday School, 11:00 worship, 2648 Atlantic Highway