MOFGA welcomed 64,162 attendees to the Common Ground Country Fair this year. This makes 2023 the third largest fair since its founding in 1977. In an incredible feat, the Common Kitchen served over 6,000 meals to hungry volunteers. On Friday, MOFGA welcomed 72 school buses with 2,815 students and 892 teachers/chaperones. In addition to a schedule of over 600 educational events, more than 120 fairgoers learned how to make Pho from the featured speaker, Sophia Nguyen Eng.
Thousands of hours are donated by volunteers to make MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair possible. This year the fair had over 2,000 volunteers donating 20,000 hours of their time. Volunteers worked across the fairgrounds, filling 3,500 shifts from compost and recycling to The Common Kitchen to the children’s area.
“The commitment to MOFGA and the Fair are awesome,” said Community Engagement Coordinator Caitlyn Barker. “From planning team members who spend months coordinating speakers, gathering resources and putting the puzzle pieces in place to fairgoers who volunteer day of, the fair could not happen without volunteers.”
Volunteering takes on different forms including offering a presentation in one of the speakers’ tents, leading an area of the fair or lending a hand in parking. As anyone who has volunteered at the fair knows, it can be an excellent introduction to the MOFGA community and volunteers experience the communities’ support and friendship first hand. It is also a great way to learn about year round opportunities to participate and learn. There are many community members who have been volunteering for MOFGA for years, while others are greenhorns.
“I’ve attended the fair many times, but this was my first time volunteering,” said Kelly Boland, Country Store Volunteer. “Volunteering connected me with the community in a deeper, more meaningful way. I’m looking forward to exploring more of MOFGA’s volunteer opportunities throughout the year!”
While the fair is the largest event MOFGA hosts annually, it is just one of hundreds of educational opportunities offered throughout the year, including the upcoming Great Maine Apple Day, taking place October 15, 2023 from 12-4 p.m. in Unity, Maine. From farm and garden events taking place around the state to the Maine Organic Marketplace in Freeport, interested community members can find the list of volunteer opportunities on MOFGA’s volunteer website.
While fairgrounds clean up is still underway, the fair planning team has already begun planning for the 2024 Fair. Learn more about the fair here.