The Common Ground Country Fair, signature event of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, will take place Friday through Sunday, Sept. 19 through 21, at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Crosby Brook Road off Route 220. Gates will open at 9 a.m. each day.

That’s the ticket

More than 60,000 visitors attend each year. Many purchase their tickets at the gates when they arrive and the lines can be long. Advance ticket purchase is encouraged, as those with advance tickets go directly to the front of the ticket lines. Locally, tickets are available at the Belfast Co-op and The Green Store; Liberty Graphics; Mac's Hardware, Unity; Nature's Choice, Camden; and Good Tern Co-Op, Huston-Tuttle and Reading Corner, Rockland.

Members of MOFGA get free daily admission to the Common Ground Country Fair, as do volunteers, children younger than 13, handicapped citizens and school groups (Friday only). Otherwise, admission is $10 daily in advance, $15 at the gate; $8/$10 for those older than 64. Discounts of $2 are available for those who bicycle to the fair, as well as those who take the train from Unity or Thorndike.

RSU 40 Adult Education is offering a bus trip to and from the fair Saturday, originating in Damariscotta with pick-up/drop-off at the Waldoboro parking lot of Chen’s Village (opposite Moody’s) at approximately 9:15 a.m./5 p.m. Round trip fee is $19; call 832-5205 or visit msad40.maineadulted.org for more information and to sign up.

Arts and entertainment at the fair

The Amphitheater features large-scale events and groups likely to fill a dance floor; the Spotlight Stage hosts smaller, more intimate performances; and the Maine Folk Traditions Stage houses choral groups and contra dances with live music. The Children's Area’s Sunflower Stage also offers some performances, and there will be occasional roving performances around the grounds. The schedule of performances, subject to change, follows.

Friday, Sept. 19

9:30 a.m.: Storyteller Moon presents “The Tale of the Sunflower Sword” on the Sunflower Stage.

10 a.m.: Learn to Play the Spoons demo on the Maine Folk Traditions stage.

10:30 a.m.: Jonboy Nemo Band plays on the Spotlight Stage.

11 a.m.: Bound to Have a Little Fun string band plays on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage, returning at 4 p.m.

11:15 p.m.: Wishes Puppet show on the Sunflower Stage.

11:30 a.m.: Sorcha Cribben-Merrill plays indie folk on the Spotlight Stage.

Noon: Shanna Underwood and Wanderlust play the Amphitheater; and open mic on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage.

12:30 p.m.: Red Bird plays uplifting world music on the Spotlight Stage.

1:15 p.m.: Show of Wonder by Magic Michael on the Sunflower Stage.

1:30 p.m.: The Pinwheel Brothers play bluegrass, folk and swing in the Amphitheater.

1:45 p.m.: Midcoast singer/songwriter Paddy Mills plays on the Spotlight Stage.

2 p.m.: Contra dance on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage, with another at 5 p.m.

3 p.m.: Jimmy Jo & the Jumbol’ayuhs play Cajun dance music in the Amphitheater; and mother-daughter duo OC and Sarah play on the Spotlight Stage.

3:15 p.m.: “Dark Follies” offers vaudeville-style variety on the Sunflower Stage.

4:15 p.m.: Frets & Fingers play uke and bass in the Amphitheater.

4:30 p.m.: Builder of the House indie folk trio wraps up the day in the Amphitheater.

Roving Friday: Paddy Mills, Pinwheel Brothers, John Tercyak and “Dark Follies.”

Saturday, Sept. 20

9:30 a.m.: Facilitated circle drums for peace in the Amphitheater; and OC and Sarah play the Sunflower Stage.

10 a.m.: Women With Wings sings on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage; and jazz duo Springwater Music plays the Spotlight Stage.

11 a.m.: The Trad Gang plays Irish music in the Amphitheater; The Gawler Family takes over the Spotlight Stage; and Bound to Have a Little Fun string band plays on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage, returning at 4 p.m.

11:15 and 3:15 p.m.: Song Dog Puppeteers present “Coyote and the Boy” on the Sunflower Stage.

Noon: Maine’s shape note singers sing tunes from the “Sacred Harp” on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage.

12:30 p.m.: Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm plays in the Amphitheater; and the Midcoast’s own Toughcats take over the Spotlight Stage.

1 p.m.:  The Bar Harbor Folk Orchestra performs on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage.

1:15 p.m.: “Dark Follies” offers vaudeville-style variety on the Sunflower Stage.

2 p.m.: Muddy Ruckus plays Gypsy Americana in the Amphitheater; and the first of two contra dances (second at 5 p.m.) takes place on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage.

3:15 p.m.: Bold Riley offers acoustic folk in the Amphitheater.

3:30 p.m.: Lissa Schneckenburger and Molly Gawler blend music and dance on the Spotlight Stage.

3:15 p.m.: Bold Riley offers acoustic folk in the Amphitheater.

4:30 p.m.: The Howligans play acoustic-driven rock in the Amphitheater.

5 p.m.: Waldo County’s Leaky Boot Jug Band wraps up the day with blues to bluegrass on the Spotlight Stage.

Roving Saturday: Leaky Boot Jug Band, Highland Mary Morris dancers, Women With Wings and the Paper Bull Puppet Company.

Sunday, Sept. 21

10 a.m.: The annual Fiddler’s Showcase gets underway on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage (signup 9:30 a.m.); call 568-7597 FMI.

10:30 a.m.: Chris Robley plays gothic indie pop on the Spotlight Stage.

11:15 p.m.: Wishes Puppet show on the Sunflower Stage.

11:30 a.m.: Lynn Deeves plays soulful folk and blues.

Noon: Connor Garvey Band plays in the Amphitheater; and Maine’s shape note singers sing tunes from the “Sacred Harp” on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage.

12:45 p.m.: Alehouse String Band plays traditional folk on the Spotlight Stage.

1 p.m. open mic on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage.

1:30 p.m.: Red Beans & Rice trio plays blues in the Amphitheater.

2 p.m.: Bill Gawley, who also is the day’s roving performer, plays contemporary folk on the Spotlight Stage.

3 p.m.: the Jim Gallant Band plays rockin’ Americana in the Amphitheater; and the Down East Friends of Folk Arts contra dance caps the fair on the Maine Folk Traditions Stage.

3:15 p.m.: OC and Sarah perform on the Sunflower Stage.

3:30 p.m.: Old-world troubadour Putnam Smith finishes the fair on the Sunflower Stage.

Take the train

The Brooks Preservation Society will be running the former Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad trains between Unity and Thorndike and the fairgrounds. An all-day pass, which includes fair admission, costs $18, $15 for senior citizens and $5 age 3 to 12 (free younger; the adult train-only ticket is $10. For a schedule, visit brookspreservation.org).

Of course, there is a lot more than music at this annual celebration of rural traditions. For a complete Common Ground Country Fair schedule, pickup the fair tabloid or visit "The Fair" at mofga.org.