Corona Chronicles Common Ground Fair Edition

Going to the Fair ~ But Not This Year
Photos, Sketches & Text by Rita Swidrowski, Belfast
September 2020

I know a friend who can’t make her annual pilgrimage to a beloved place this fall.
Instead she’s sharing photos and memories of her past trips. I like this idea.

The Common Ground Country Fair is my annual pilgrimage. I go to join in the celebration of the harvest season, of community and cooperative sharing, of living in harmony with nature, of caring for the the earth and for one another. All with joy, artistry, respect, and, well… Love. Good things to have in these times. I go to rejoice in the midst of September’s vivid color, light and energy before the gray of winter sets in.

I will miss the Common Ground Fair in Unity. I can only imagine what it’s like for the participants and organizers. At least there will be a Common Ground Fair to attend online and we can still support the farmers and artisans who work so hard all year.

The Fair

I love the farm animals, including the favorites from my childhood County Fairs ~ The Horses. The Fair of my childhood was my city girl connection to country life. Even though it was modern & honky tonk in some ways, I adored it. All year I had the same anticipation I now have for the Common Ground.

There are teaching workshops, and demonstrations of old fashioned,
sustainable tools and crafts. Young people are learning and passing on ways and traditions of past generations.

So many stalls, booths and tents with produce
and handmade, homemade natural products and crafts!

And Food! The variety of healthy, local food delights me! The cotton candy of my childhood fair is replaced by Tacos, Fiddlehead-stuffed Ravioli & carrot juice!

Musicians, on stages and off, country dances, wandering minstrels…
Parades in which fair goers and bicycles participate!

Sketching at the Fair

Over the years, my steady companion at the Fair has been a small sketchbook in which I make quick visual and written notes.

One time I was sketching the little Popcorn House
when the Popcorn Lady popped out to photo my sketch!
A great pleasure: Sketching while listening to live music!


There is no Common Ground Fair this year.
But my sketchbook and I have been safely finding September joy
in some beautiful local gardens.
And next year we will appreciate the Fair more than ever!

Rita Swidrowski sketches, journals, teaches and lives in Belfast. You can visit her blog, Sketchbook Wandering