UNITY, Maine — The Common Ground Country Fair, which is the signature event of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), will be offered in a virtual format for 2020 due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual celebration of rural living is always the third weekend after Labor Day and attracts over 60,000 visitors to MOFGA's fairgrounds in Unity.
"Governor Mills' gradual plan to restart Maine's economy has provided information and clarity about the months ahead as the COVID-19 pandemic continues," Common Ground Country Fair Director April Boucher stated in a press release. "At this time the guidance we have received, along with information from our fellow Maine Agricultural Fairs, has led us to the decision to pursue a virtual Fair and not have an on-site event this year. This decision takes into account the safety and need for advanced planning for our community and allows us to begin planning a marquee virtual event."
The Common Ground Country Fair started in 1977 and relies on the work of 2,500 dedicated volunteers each year, including 300 volunteers who work on the event year round. The fair offers over 775 educational talks and experiences and features vendors from all across Maine.
"We recognize the important role the Fair plays in connecting with each other, sharing knowledge, supporting our local economy, creating access to organic food, and extending MOFGA's year round work," MOFGA Executive Director Sarah Alexander said. "These important roles will not be lost and we are excited to put our efforts and creativity into innovative ways to support our community through a virtual fair."
MOFGA will be working with the Fair Planning Team, volunteers, exhibitors, and staff to keep the spirit and goals of the Common Ground Country Fair alive and provide an engaging virtual event for the community.
"Our community is what makes the Common Ground Country Fair a vibrant and engaging celebration of rural living. They are in the forefront of our minds as we monitor the pandemic and make this decision," Boucher added. Our decision about the Fair was not taken lightly and is the product of feedback from our community, direction from our state's administration and facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."