Two days of overcast skies and intermittent rain did little to deter visitors to the Common Ground Country Fair, from across the country and around the world.

Midcoast residents were among the 1,300 vendors, exhibitors and educational presenters at the 2011 Common Ground Country Fair in Unity Sept. 23, 24 and 25.

Whether they were preparing food for nearly 60,000 fairgoers, teaching them how to grow and use Maine’s wealth of plants, providing entertainment and information, running livestock through their paces or selling crafts and other products, smiles were seen across the fairground.

Fair Director Jim Ahearne said attendance for the three-day fair broke down as follows: 17,500 on Friday, 20,000 on Saturday and 21,500 on Sunday (which featured the weekend’s best weather), for a total of about 59,000 people.

Big attractions included, as always, the sheepdog demonstrations, which were held three times a day by long-time demonstrator Dave Kennard. Kennard showed how a series of concise commands or customized whistles could direct his half-dozen sheepdogs to round up and herd a group of sheep, goats and even ducks.

The livestock and poultry exhibits drew big crowds, as did demonstrations of the latest in green practices, such as composting, edible landscaping and scavenging from the wild. Folks were given tutorials on esoteric topics such as equine dentistry, shiitake mushroom incubation, scythe-sharpening, shape-note music, and the pros and cons of keeping angora rabbits.

Meanwhile, tents full of wares from artists and craftspeople drew streams of potential buyers, while story-telling, music, a bike parade and stilt walkers rounded out the festive atmosphere.

The 2012 fair will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21 through 23. For more information about the fair and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, visit the website at or call 568-4142.