Prints of the Barnyard

Love the Common Ground Country Fair’s annual poster designs? Thank the rural jurors who select them.

Common Ground Country Fair’s annual posters - pig and praying mantis
From the September 2017 issue of Down East magazine

“Chickens are very classic,” notes Common Ground Country Fair Director April Boucher, who recently unveiled the trio of fluffy, white Columbian Wyandottes that grace the posters, T-shirts, and totes of the 41st annual festival of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in Unity. Some 60,000 agro-lovers attend every year, and for the most devoted fans, the logo reveal is always big news; many love to collect anything and everything it’s printed on.

MOFGA started running a design contest in the early ’80s, and Boucher says the selection jury weighs factors like timeliness and educational value. Backyard poultry is hip right now, for example; winning artist Dwight Gagnon keeps Columbian Wyandottes at home. “But ultimately,” Boucher says, “like with many pieces of art, sometimes one just grabs you.”

Designs that really resonate with fairgoers are a boon for MOFGA, since retail sales help fund the non-profit’s year-round work. The mantis and full moon, from 2007, sold like (organic spelt) hotcakes, Boucher says. And people still ask about getting their hands on 2015’s whimsical goat and butterfly. Such is demand for certain past designs that MOFGA will soon, for the first time, start re-releasing T-shirts and totes. The list of popular oldies is long, so ahead of this year’s fair, we asked Boucher to share a half-dozen faves.