Today we went to the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity. The fair is put on each September by MOFGA and is focused on sustainable, environmentally-friendly, organic farming and progressive politics. It is a very cool event.
We are home. Tired, dusty, nearly broke, and happy. We spent today at the fair - bringing a woman named M from Southwest Harbor to the fair for the first time. She moved to Maine only a few years ago and had heard of the fair but this was her first time, so we got to act as tour guides to the high points. The Common Ground Country Fair is not a fair for everyone, but it is by far my favorite. I was pleased that M seemed to enjoy it as well.
We left the island at around 8:30 and got to Unity by 10:15. Then we sat in traffic to the parking area for 15 minutes, so we considered ourselves lucky. We walked in though this marvelous wooded path with tall pines all around and occasional signs explaining different methods of forestry resource management. That walk in to the fairgrounds is nearly magical. It is as though all the dust and mayhem of thousands of cars in the hayfield/parking lot fall away and are forgotten, and then the mayhem of thousands of people and lots of dust in the fairground seem like a new and pleasant experience to be had.
We checked out the bunnies and the poultry barn, looked at the horses and some donkeys and mules (we could tell they were mules because they were not behaving properly and no amount of scolding could move them to the appointed place.) Per usual, the food was fantastic. The crafts were great to peruse and there were several demonstrations of things going on all over the place. Very cool indeed. I even picked up some information on environmentally-friendly paints and stains. Oh, and I got a couple dozen bumper stickers to spiff up my truck. Very cool stuff!
And the people! The loads and loads of people! We saw loads of friends and people from a queer list serve that we belong to.
I saw a dear old friend and former prof from UMF who is still fighting the good fight through Veterans for Peace, another friend from the Waterville UU church who was at the pagan network booth - she did a very powerful reading of my cards (on a whim and thoroughly unexpected in its intensity on my part). Remarkably, neither L nor I encountered any ex-girlfriends in an entire day of wandering around a place chock full of Maine lesbians. That in itself was a remarkable thing.
It was a beautiful day for the fair. The sun was out, it was warm enough to walk around in a t-shirt with no sweater or long sleeves, it was dusty, but really I prefer that to muddy, and that seems to be the other option there. There were throngs of people, but for the most part everyone seemed to be pretty patient. The parking lot at the end of the day was a mad house of the first degree, much like my childhood memories of people who had just hugged each other during the sign of peace then trying to run one another down in the church parking lot after mass so they could get to the bakery for donuts. The energy in the parking lot was anything but peaceful and nice. Bleah.
We crested a hill coming out of Unity just as the sun dipped below the horizon's edge. The sky was a brilliant wash of oranges and reds and yellows and it was a marvelous end to a fantastic day.