It was a beautiful, chilly start to our Saturday morning. We were on the road before the sun had even broken over the horizon. So early, the chickens were still sleeping peacefully on their roosts.
But with a 3 hour drive in the general direction of way out of town, we wanted to get there, and get there at gate opening – There being Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s Annual Common Ground Fair.
See, this is our 4th year attending and every year has been an earmark of some sort. Our first one was the year he proposed, the second one we were married and unknowingly pregnant and the third was Izzy’s first year going, at all of 4 months old.
This year was special in its own way because Izzy was turning 16 months on the day we were attending and would be able to really enjoy the fair, unlike last year where she mostly slept.
We got to the south parking area at about 9, pulled into the appointed parking spot – WHICH happened to be behind the very tree Mr. Gillis proposed at in ’13 – and proceeded to unpack all the baby gear out of the truck and into the stroller. We then hiked the 10 minute trail that brought us to the gateway to fairdom.
This is always an interesting, refreshing walk. The first part of it takes you thru the huge parking lot that is really just lots of grassy knolls covered in vehicles of every order. Even at opening time, the place is always already packed. You follow the line of people until you reach the road crossing area, and that leads you to a trek through some woods.
And it is a bit of a trek- its got hills, stumps(which i have tripped on in years past), and Draft Animal Crossing signs. There are also composting outhouses and Fun Fact Info snippets posted on signs along the way. At the end of this trek, you cross the railroad tracks and walk up one final hill to the South Gate.
On the way in, I always ask to keep half a ticket for our memory jar- this year the gatekeeper let me just keep both whole tickets!
As we walked, we marveled at how busy it already was at quarter past nine- On this side is the one of the farmers markets and its always buzzing with activity. First things first, we always go to the MOFGA store tent to get our yearly poster. We have one from each year we’ve attended, along with the oddball Maine Heritage Orchard poster.
Once we had accomplished that- despite a long winding walk in a line that extended far out the tent doorway, it was time to explore, see some animals and do some shopping. First, to explore we walked the pathways, circled the pavilion. Went here, there and everywhere, sometimes twice.
Then it was off to see the animals! We took Izzy to see the goats and sheep- the rabbits and some donkeys off in the distance. We had to stay out of the poultry barn this year because Izzy wasn’t digging crowds so much.
After that we took off and wandered through the vendor areas. We bought some soaps, an organically raised jade tree for our tree frog Casper and I splurged and bought possibly one of the most expensive things I have ever bought- A $33 skein of beautiful angora and wool mix yarn in this soft green that I plan on making into a hat for Izzy.
By now we were all getting pretty hungry and so we got into line for some pulled bbq sandwiches. We sat on a grassy dip in a area next to the trees. The weather had been pretty fantastic all morning, a nice breeze and warm sun, but sitting there we were noticing a slight chill in the air. We decided to head back to the farmers market and gate to get on the long road home.
On our way out, I made one last stop to grab some raw chocolate milk, which I drank on the very long hike back to our truck as we let Izzy explore and walk a good deal of the trail herself.
It was a pretty amazing day and I am so glad that we take time out of our busy lives to do little day trips like these. We really both believe that no matter how tired we were when we finally got home that night, it is well worth it to build those memories and traditions now, for Izzy to grow into. But we have a lot of ways we build memories and a few traditions we’ve been working on for a few years now…. that’s another blog tho.
Until some other time then, have a wicked good day.