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With Only About Half The Volunteers It Needs, Common Ground Fair Eyes Contingency Plans

Mark Vogelzang
Maine Public file
Clouds loom over the Common Ground Country Fair in Sept. 2013.

The 45th Common Ground Country Fair in Unity is set to open in just one month's time. But the flagship event of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is still lacking almost half of the volunteers needed to produce the yearly three-day celebration of rural living.

Sarah Alexander, executive director of MOFGA, says the quest for volunteers goes on, but they're also working on some contingency plans in case there aren't enough people.

"Yeah, we're having that conversation right now about, you know, what can the fair look like?" She says. "We're really putting the call out for younger folks to get involved, especially this year, because the folks that are thinking about whether or not they can make it this year tend to be — you know, we have a lot of older folks in our volunteer crew who are just feeling a little bit less safe around the COVID situation."

Alexander says some volunteers had been coming to help for 40-plus years, but uncertainty over the delta variant of the coronavirus has had a chilling effect on finding enough help.

MOFGA is working with Maine CDC to come up with health guidelines, but Alexander says it has not yet been decided whether masks will be required.

She says ticketing will all be done in advance online, and changes to the fair layout will be made to accommodate social distancing.