Monday, October 28, 2013

The Common Ground Fair 2013

It was pouring rain the morning we had planned to go to the Common Ground Fair this year. A few years ago that would have meant a change in plans, but the weirdest thing has happened since I got interested in photography. Bad weather means more interesting photos, and comfort has become secondary. Temperature is 8 below zero? Awesome, there will be fabulous frost photographs. The full moon is going to set right behind my favorite ruined house? Who needs sleep - road trip at 3am! 

So off we went in the downpour. Last year you might remember I chaperoned the 6th grade; this year it was just my husband and me. He went off to the insulation and heating displays and I watched the sheepdog demonstrations. Sadly, the rain trickled off and we had a beautiful day.

One very excitable young dog was herding these geese around the arena, following the farmer's instructions. The geese didn't seem particularly upset by this. They waddled pretty darn fast when the dog was behind them, swerving when the dog did, but looking somewhat bored the whole time. When the demonstration stopped, they stood around looking at the sky and the spectators with an air of resignation, for all the world like off-duty performers.

After the sheepdogs finished, I found this fabulous display:

Called the "Ammend-O-Matic," it was an elaborate machine that would carry a dollar bill through a series of slides, ramps, bells, swinging doors, and spinning signs into a politician's mouth. There were signs all over like "Stamp money out of politics!" "A corporation is not a person!" and "Make your money talk!" They were selling ink stamps that you could use on your own money with those slogans. It was very entertaining to watch.

Next I went looking for lunch and ended up mesmerized by the potato-chip-makers:

They'd put a potato on the spindle-thing, which spun it against a blade, making these super-thin potato shavings. Then they fried them, and voila, organic potato chip ribbons:

I bustled around doing my shopping - honey, a gallon of maple syrup, hickory-smoked sea salt, some home-made marshmallows, beeswax cloths to use instead of plastic wrap, 5 pounds of beets, and another 5 of carrots ... And then I saw a man with the most amazing dreadlocks ever:

and he met up with a woman with what would have been the most amazing dreadlocks if I had seen her first.

And then they posed for a photographer working with an antique camera who made a tintype of them.

By then my mind was pretty thoroughly boggled, so I started taking pictures of vegetables, but they seemed a little boring after all that.

Fortunately, it started to pour again.

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