I tried to go Common Ground Fair to see old friends, Geri and Donna, from Wednesday Spinners. Having done my share of stuff, including tanning the hide of a road-killed otter displaced by development, making my own buckskin, building my own sailboat and a couple of guitars using cherry from my grandfather’s farm, I was looking forward to many fresh ideas.

We were stopped, though, three miles from the venue by a traffic jam. Conduct in the line of traffic was generally good, although I did witness one young woman squat in the tall roadside grass to relieve herself and I was the victim of a couple of rude and abusive local drivers. After waiting in line for more than an hour, we were still 1.5 miles from the fair. We went to Belfast for lunch instead.

A two-hour traffic jam for a preplanned event is unacceptable. Repercussions such as this as a result of MOFGA’s poor planning should be anathema to a culture that espouses the values of conservation and the wise use of resources.

News stories said MOFGA expected 60,000 people. That translates to a minimum of 15,000 cars, probably closer to 30,000. Who approved the mass gathering permit without a plan for handling that many vehicles? Town officials messed up. They ignored the basic safety of the town’s residents and visitors.

How long have they been “lucky” with that policy? The organizers have the responsibility to provide infrastructure and planning to facilitate a gathering of that magnitude. After 20-something years of fairs, MOFGA should have the resources to step up and solve this problem. And Unity town officials have the responsibility to require a better MOFGA plan to protect the welfare of residents and visitors.

William Kennedy


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