Whenever I mention my excitement for each year’s Common Ground Fair, people who have never been ask me: “What do you do there?” My first response is always: “Eat.” The food at any fair is, of course, a highlight, but the food at Common Ground is unlike any other fair I have ever heard of. Free-range meats, locally grown and in-season veggies, whole-wheat dough fried in organic sunflower oil, lemonade squeezed fresh…and a plethora of choices no matter what type of dietary restrictions or choices you may seek.
The food is amazing, and I greatly anticipate it, but that is only a piece of the puzzle. Listening to the music as you walk the grounds, looking at everything from mooing cows to hand-carved marionettes, there is truly something there for everyone. Jeramy, who could not come this year, likes the electric cars and home-building techniques on display. I get giddy over such things as compost, homeopathic remedies, and naturally printed fabrics. There are always people on spinning wheels, dozens of soap-makers, knowledgeable folks to connect with, and social and political causes to learn about. I gathered my share of business cards, brochures, buttons, and stickers, signed a few petitions, and asked lots of questions.
If I had an unlimited budget, I could have found something in almost every tent to take home with me or gift to someone. Tie-dyed silk scarves, carved wooden spoons, felted acorns, hobbit hole playhouses, pottery, screen-printed tees, and, of course, produce from the farmer’s market area. I limited myself to a book that was on my wish list, a hand-carved tree branch whistle for Simon’s musical instrument collection, and a year’s worth of bar soap for the family.
It seems no matter how much planning ahead I do, I always miss something. There is so much to see though that I could happily spend days. I still have yet to find out what a “bean hole bean” is, something I meant to finally find out this year. I have never listened to any speakers or taken any classes either. One thing is for sure though, I plan to keep going every year I am able.
There is something special about this fair, about the way people flock there from all over the country. It is a place filled with optimism, and when I am there I feel a sense of connection to similar souls. It truly is, a common ground.
P.S. See last year’s adventure here.