Celebrating of the art of rural living

Sep 14, 2017
Maine singer/songwriters Putnam Smith and Ashley Storrow perform a folk/roots blend of original and Appalachian songs, playing guitars, banjo, mandolin and shruti box. They are set for the final day of the 40th annual Common Ground Country Fair in Unity.

Unity — Now in its fifth decade, the Common Ground Country Fair will run Friday through Sunday, Sept. 22 through 24, at the home of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association on the Crosby Brook Road.

Gates open at 9 a.m. daily, rain or shine — both of which are integral to the agriculturally-based approach celebrated in the annual event that draws an estimated 60,000 visitors each autumn. But one cannot live by beets alone; the fair also offers lots of entertainment at several sites (and roving around the grounds), as well as a range of folk arts. The full fair schedule offers activities spread out over 40-plus acres of well-tended land including perennial gardens, walkways and orchards.

Performers with Maine roots include many familiar faces, some who return to the fair every year. They include children’s favorite John Tercyak, Maine singer/songwriters Martin Swinger, Nat Hussey Lisa Redfern and Paddy Mills, the Bound To Have A Little Fun and Ale House string bands, Women with Wings, Inanna, The Gawler Family and a lot more.

Indie musicians weaving folk traditions with other genres set to play include Waldo County’s own Sugarbush, GoldenOak, Hilton Park, Happytown and street performers The Bumbling Woohas. Venues include the fairground's open Amphitheater, the intimate Spotlight Stage, the Maine Folk Traditions tent and, for younger audience members, the Sunflower Stage in the Children’s Area.

Music runs pretty much all day, every day, with a wrap-up contra dance at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. And there’s plenty of good food to fuel the dancing. Vendors are open until 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are free for MOFGA members, children younger than 13, handicapped citizens and fair volunteers, as well as for Friday school groups. Otherwise, daily admission is $10 advance, $15 at gate for those age 13 to 64; and $8/$10 for older adults. Those who bike to the fairgrounds or take the train from Unity or Thorndike get $2 off. Advance tickets, which get attendees to the front of the entry line, are on sale at retail outlets throughout Maine and online through brownpapertickets.com. For more information about the fair — including an interactive schedule of all events — visit mofga.org/thefair.

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