It’s only just over a week before gates open on the 149th annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair on Thursday, August 19, but already it is time to sign up for jobs and prepare your entries for all categories — and time even to mark on your calendar earlier deadlines for next year’s extraordinary celebrations of the 150th fair.
So don’t wait! Entry forms for all categories in this year’s fair are due on Monday, August 16. Volunteers are at the Agricultural Hall on Panhandle Road in West Tisbury from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays with plans to extend the hours as the fair approaches. You may pick up fair books which list all the categories for exhibition for adults and juniors, from cookies to collages to shell collections. The books detail the rules for each section, and they also contain an entry form with space for many entries. Volunteers will accept completed forms any time up to next Monday at 5 p.m. — and not after; don’t even try.
All junior entries are due to the hall on Wednesday; they will be judged that day.
All adult nonperishable entries are also due on Wednesday; baked goods and flower entries may be delivered on Thursday morning.
You may also go to the hall now to sign up for volunteer or paid shifts at the fair. Kids eight and older can sign up to be runners (taking entries to the proper section of the hall as they are registered) on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.
Adults who volunteer to register entries or organize a department on Wednesday receive a four-day pass to the fair.
Eleven to fourteen-year-olds can sign up for security or trash duty. These jobs run in three-hour shifts through the fair. Those 14 and older may also apply for a job as a ticket-taker. The pay is $5 an hour and include a staff T-shirt which serves as a pass to the fair.
Adults may apply for $10 an hour jobs selling raffle tickets on the grounds, a special raffle for the 150th fair, which also will feature a special parade the Tuesday before the fair opens in 2011.
Hold tight to your 2010 fair book, which includes a special color-coded section detailing special categories for the 150th, reminiscent of turn-of-the-last-century fairs — manure with and without seaweed, lace, waxwork, cheesemaking, quince growing, cultivated forage crops (such as whey), a golden wedding contest, prizes for the most living children and most living grandchildren, not to mention great-grandchildren, and a Yankee ingenuity category for the best use of materials available before 1900.
A special state judge will adjudicate many of these, and so the deadline for entry for these once-only fair categories will be June 1. The details will be printed only in this year’s fair book, as the deadline for signing up will be past by the time next year’s fair book, with the usual categories and deadlines, is published.