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Monday, September 24, 2012

Fair's Fair

As reported on Friday, this weekend we went to the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine. We went yesterday. A day which deserved a blue ribbon for Most Perfect Fall Day. The sky was a piercing blue, the few clouds were cotton-ball fluffy, the sun was warm, and the breeze was cool. If you weren't actually in Maine yesterday, you wish you were. Trust me.

In fact, yesterday was such an awesome day weather-wise that we probably could have done any variety of activities and it still would have been awesome. Mucking out horse stalls, hunting for skunks, shopping at a mall. The wonders of yesterday were so extreme that they would have negated the horrors of even those horrifying tasks.

Now that I have you sufficiently depressed about where you live/jealous about me living in Maine, let's continue.

Unity, Maine is located just north of Benton and just east of Bangor. You're totally picturing it in your head now, right? If you need some help, I can tell you that Benton is the storage unit capitol of the Northeast. For a town with few residents and mostly trailer-sized homes, it apparently boasts a significant amount of nick-nacks, used mattresses, and/or dead bodies.

Unity takes about 1.5 hours to get to from where we live. Along the way, we saw 1 deer, dozens of cows, large roadkill, and miles of hay bales. We left at 9:30 so my son could take his morning nap in the car. He didn't sleep at all. Unless you count blinking.

The fairgrounds are hard to miss. After miles of nothing, we were greeted by the welcoming sight of Waldo County Sheriffs, standing by their blinking-light patrol cars. I think this was a big day for them. A break from the tedium of busting crystal meth kitchen labs for the excitement of directing traffic.

There were A LOT of people heading to the fair. The parking lots were huge. Just to be sure we're all on the same page here, by parking lot I mean "big grassy expanse cleared of livestock to make room for cars." We remembered where we'd parked by memorizing our car's relationship to the windmill.

We trekked across the parking lot and then walked about half a mile along a path through the woods. The path was dotted with "Did You Know" signs about organic farming -- some interesting facts and figures whose ultimate takeaway was that we're all poisoned and going to die because we didn't buy organic grapes for decades. Now, on to the fair!

After passing by the "gentle foresting" demos and the "composting outhouse," we finally arrived at the fairgrounds. They were gigantic. Stalls for food and stalls for livestock and stalls for crafts and stalls for next-generation iPhones. (Just kidding. There was a big sign at the entrance saying NO CELL PHONE RECEPTION. FIGURE OUT ANOTHER WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR LOVED ONES.)

Here are some other things I found at the fair:

  • Dreadlocks. Everyone had them. Even short-haired dogs.
  • Organic food. Everything was organic. Even the fried dough. I'm for reals.
  • A repurposed school bus functioning as an apartment. The gals who whipped up my tofu scramble wrap live and work out of the bus parked behind their stall. The bus was painted a magical green and called something like the "Sunflower Star Ship." The girl who took my order spoke in nothing but song and the girl who prepared my wrap had a crocheted Bob Marley cap just-barely perched on her dreads. I very much blended in.
  • Sledding. Not snow sledding. Dirt sledding. On recycled cardboard boxes. My daughter loved it.
  • Bob Dylan. Not the real Bob Dylan. The sadly earnest wannabe Bob Dylan playing some one of the poet's scratchy songs under a randomly situated tree near the totem pole stall. With a gal juggling beside him.
  • Chicken coops. Professionally designed and constructed ones. My husband scoffed.
  • Chickens. Of every breed. Felt like home.
  • Llamas. No alpacas (Praise Jesus!). The woman giving the "Llama Tours" explained that alpacas aren't bred to be friendly, so they don't bring them to fairs. Sounds like just the right pet for the Diaz family!
  • Custom-made coffins. I'm for reals here too. The first thing we saw when we left the fairgrounds to head home was a sign for these babies, with some samples standing up along the roadside. It's like window shopping, only from your car and for the afterlife!
  • Free tents. For reals again, people! The second thing we saw was a sign for free tents. The offeror was apparently taken up on his offer, as an entire section of the parking lot was cordoned off for overnight campers sleeping in...yes, tents!
It was quite an adventure and certainly a memorable way to spend my son's first birthday. For his second, we're thinking of recreating Woodstock.

I just hope Pinterest has a good recipe for pot-free pot brownie cakes. I've got a year to find it!

MOFGA hosts the Common Ground Country Fair and seems like quite a respectable outfit.

1 comment:

  1. Regan and I were there with our families. We were also celebrating my youngest's first birthday. Sorry to miss you! Maybe next year we can meet up...say at the coffin area? ;). The tofu scramble was delicious!

    ~Keri, one of the 2 Deaf girls mentioned in an earlier post. ;)