Visitors to the Common Ground Fair file into the fairgrounds in Unity, Maine on Sept. 24, 2017. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

The Common Ground Country Fair will be held in person this fall, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association announced Friday.

The decision comes after the festival moved to an online format in the fall of 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The event will look different this year to accommodate health and safety protocols, April Boucher, director of the fair, said. This will include managing space as efficiently as possible to reduce congestion, requiring masks for all attendants, integrating touchless payment systems and sanitizing high-traffic areas.

Boucher said that organizers are focused on being able to provide a space that will put community members’ health and safety first, and were determined to move forward with planning the fair because of the benefit to local farmers markets.

“We are announcing that we are planning to proceed at this time because one of the most loved aspects of the Fair is the food, including the two all-organic farmers’ markets and many food booths that showcase Maine’s organic products,” Boucher said. “This advance planning is important for organic farmers throughout the state who need a level of assurance of this major market at this time in the cropping season.”

Because the fair relies on volunteer participation, Boucher worried that it would be hard to find the over 2,000 volunteers that help keep the fair running smoothly. She said that organizers continue to plan the event and that she hopes to see volunteer interest to provide the best experience possible.

The Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association has not announced when tickets will be available, but plan to hold the event September 24-26.

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley and staying active in the Maine outdoors.