I discovered that Mother Earth News puts on a fair in different parts of the country during the year. The closest one to me was going to be in Pennsylvania in the middle of September. I talked with a friend and we decided to attend. Our daughters decided that we couldn't go by ourselves and have all the fun, so they came with us (as a mama, that made the trip even better).
First of all, the entrance fee is so reasonable it's crazy- if you place your ticket order early, you can get a 3 day ticket for $25. And kids under 18 are FREE. So, yeah, crazy prices.
I looked around and found a B&B for us to stay in for the weekend- again, crazy reasonable pricing. Plus, breakfast was included. The room was clean, the breakfast was hearty, and the other guests were a riot. We all had a great time together.
We left for our destination early Friday morning and arrived at our B&B around noon. After checking in and depositing our bags, we headed to Seven Springs Resort for the fair.
Let me tell you something: I was blown away. Seriously. The venue, the weather, the scenery. Oh, and let's not forget the actual fair itself! The vendors. The workshops. The education. The people. And I usually am not a real big fan of people. But these 15,000 people were just like me! They were seeking knowledge about living life. About being alive. About doing stuff that matters, not just today, but into the future. About realizing that the status quo isn't all it's cracked up to be. About finding a new way to do an old task. About making a difference. About not settling for something that works just because it appears convenient.
You are probably expecting me to describe these people as older, hippie-ish, tree-hugging, no animal product, women in long, flowing skirts, birkenstocks, and long hair everywhere. Ah, no. Not at all. There were so many families. So many people in my generation. I couldn't believe how many people under the age of 45 were there. It was amazing. And so encouraging!
I took workshops on crop rotation, herbalism, goat cheese making, hops growing...can you say 'diversity?' There were over 200 workshops to choose from! I learned so much over the weekend that I felt as though my brain had turned to mush and was leaking out of my ears.
A few words of advice:
- Take good notes. Even if you don't think it matters at the time, take them anyway. You won't regret it- you will regret thinking that you can remember everything you heard in the workshop
- Good walking shoes. Obviously.
- More money than you think you'll need. Although, most of the vendors are set up to take credit/debit cards now on their smart phones, cash is king
- Go with a friend or friends. You can a) divide and conquer and make it to twice as many workshops if you split up and b) have someone to process information with.
- At least one bag- preferably a backpack- for you to haul stuff in.
- Don't feel like you have to have basic knowledge in any given area in order to attend a particular workshop. I found that most of the presenters went from basic to advanced teaching within one hour. It was fascinating.
If this has piqued your interest at all, wonderful. If not, sorry 'bout your luck.