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Vendors hold event after Common Ground Fair cancelled

September 25, 2021 GMT

UNITY, Maine (AP) — There’s no Common Ground Fair this weekend because of the pandemic, but vendors staged an alternative.

Several longtime Common Ground participants banded together to organize smaller events at venues scattered around Unity on Saturday. They dubbed it the Fall for Saturdays Tour.

Robin Pratt told the Bangor Daily News that her Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm would normally see about 60,000 visitors because her farm is in the middle of the fair’s parking area.

Pratt said she’s not second-guessing the decision to cancel the fair. She said it wouldn’t be safe to have so many people gathering as the delta variant continues to spread across the state.

But she said it’s not fall in Maine without the fair, which is sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

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“People sort of have this internal clock that tells them it’s Common Ground weekend,” Pratt said.

Colleen Maguire, co-owner of TradeHers Market, said she and a number of other farms and businesses were ready with products, staffing, volunteers and equipment before the fair was canceled.

“There are folks who plan two years out for it and now have a lot of products they are struggling to sell,” MacGuire said.

Susan Koch said she fears this second consecutive year without the fair could be a devastating and final blow to some farmers and vendors.

“For the people who are the vendors and exhibitors, Common Ground is a make or break event for their year and one that let them reach the most people,” said Koch, who raises sheep and rabbits in Swanville.