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  • Writer's pictureMAND

MAND Goes to the Fair

By Dr. Nate Petley, ND

It seems that summer in Maine goes faster and faster every year – plant the potatoes in spring and in the blink of an eye it’s time to harvest. Oscar Wilde perhaps said it best, “And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” Fall to a small town in central Maine means one thing – it’s time for the Common Ground Fair!

The Common Ground Fair to me is not just about sustainable living and organic eating. It’s about community. We gather ourselves for one weekend a year to celebrate our life here in Maine. The Fair is where you find your organic farmers, producers, artisans, craftsmen, and supporting professions – perhaps all at once while in line at the water spigot. You see volunteers directing, cleaning, cooking, and making sure the fair runs smoothly, despite welcoming 60 thousand fairgoers in only three days. You see speakers offering their time and experience, sharing passionately to attentive listeners billowing out of tents across the fairgrounds. And, just like summer, the weekend goes by quickly.

If you look in the Health and Healing Tent, you’ll find The Maine Association of Naturopathic Doctors (MAND). We have proudly set up a table for over 20 years and every year we love seeing familiar faces and making new connections. We love chatting about what we do! It is a great opportunity for fairgoers to meet a doctor, ask questions about naturopathic medicine, and learn where to find a nearby naturopathic doctor.

Also be sure to attend one of the many lectures offered by our Maine naturopathic doctors!

Speaker schedule featuring some of MAND's members!

Here are two notes written in the early mornings of previous fairs and reminders as to why I truly enjoy setting up and helping organize the MAND table every year:

September 25, 2015: “Friday morning setup at the Common Ground Fair is my most favorite part of the entire weekend. The sun is rising high enough in the sky to dry the last of the dew. Farmers are spreading out their harvest while vendors are adjusting their wares. The smell of food is wafting through the crisp air. The cows are mooing in the barns. And, despite us all being busy as bees in a flower garden, we smile and greet those around us with such authentic excitement. The best sound of all is the gentle chatter from all around and the occasional cackling laugh. And here I sit in the middle of the hub just before the doors open to the general public. The very start to the best fair I know.” Dr. Nate Petley, ND
September 24, 2016: “Today marks Day 2 of the 40th Anniversary of the Common Ground Fair. It's a brisk morning but the sun is warming as it rises over the tree line. The morning fog is lifting but I can still see my breath. Folks are bustling around finishing last minute touches to booths and displays, all the while chatting and greeting others with heart-felt smiles. I love this quiet moment just before the hordes of people show up at 9:00. It is like the lull before a storm - an exciting storm. I could think of no other place I'd rather be today!” Dr. Nate Petley, ND

Dr. Nate Petley making the rounds at the Common Ground Fair.

Dr. Nate Petley is a naturopathic doctor practicing in Waterville at Maine Center for Natural Health. He also teaches a 3-year herb apprenticeship and lectures throughout the state. Visit his website


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