Yesterday, I visited the hippy-fest known as the Common Ground Fair. Put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the event was an organic food, gardening, and crafts extravaganza. There were also tents dedicated to folks arts (blacksmithing, spinning, and the like) and alternative energy.
I spent the vast majority of my time wandering the crafts and boogying down. See, they had my all-time favorite dancing there: contra dancing! I spent a solid two hours spinning, chaining, starring, and more. I really don't get enough contra in my life. If you've never heard of contra dancing before, think square dancing with a bit more folksiness and a bit less country. It's descended from English country dancing
This guy had a skirt made out of ties. How awesome?
Overall, it was a fabulous time. I picked up a few things I've been looking for, including a new wooden spoon (the ones I own are cheapies from Ikea that just aren't durable). I also found some super all natural detergent, and I'm going to give it a try and see if I want to switch over. The kind I got smells like limes!
I LOVE pumpkins. Fall in general, really. Harvest time is really my favorite time of year: apples, pumpkins, crisp air, and falling leaves.
As befitting a hippy-fair, there were NO disposable plastic water bottles on site. Actually, they divert 90% of the waste stream; vendors use compostable diningware, there are lots of waste sorting bins, and volunteers sort all the waste that went into general trash cans to pull out anything that shouldn't go to the landfill. To that end, the water there was free and plentiful! Around the fair were several free-standing taps with potable water. I've never seen so many reusable water bottles!
The picture is a more extreme example, but ALL of the booths sourced organic food. And, for the most part, the vendors sold local food. I had a delicious local, organic, grass-fed beef burger, and I got a fabulous smoothie from the following place:
And, finally, powering everything! It can be difficult to have someone calling a dance without a microphone. And it's difficult to get that power . . . or is it? Behold the traveling sun power system:
The solar panel and a system in the trunk powered the lights and sound inside the contra pavilion. Absolutely amazing! Solar power also powered part of the main exhibition building, the blenders for my afternoon smoothie snack, and much more.
It truly is fantastic and amazing what people can do when they put their minds to it. I didn't find this fair at all different from any "normal" fair (okay, it was waaaay cooler than my county fair), and it was much more sustainable. Common Ground is truly a model for what we CAN be when we put in a little effort. And by a little effort, I truly mean not much. I brought a water bottle, sorted my trash, and otherwise just enjoyed wandering around outdoors and dancing my little heart out.