A family of four was first in line at the entrance booth Thursday morning, waiting to buy their tickets for the first day of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society’s 155th Agricultural fair. A line quickly formed behind, with people anxious to play games, see livestock and eat fried food. Inside the fairgrounds, the rides spun emptily on their last test runs and cattle teams lined up for the first competition of the day.

Henry Scott took home a ribbon for his goat, Buddy. — Maria Thibodeau

Chief and Tom a two-year-old team of Gloucester linebacks from Connecticut, were driven by Bev Gould. A young boy climbed up the fence to scratch Chief’s head, and during the agility contest, Chief and Tom were distracted by fresh patches of clover on the ground — much to the amusement of those watching.

Luckily for the Goulds, who began their ox farm as a hobby, they had two other teams in the competition.

“It’s a family affair,” said Mrs. Gould. Jim Gould drove their four-year-old team, Captain and Willy. The Goulds’ youngest team at the fair were one-year-olds Bandit and Dodge, and back on their farm they have a six-week-old pair that’s just learning the ropes.

The fair isn't complete without stopping to play games. — Maria Thibodeau

“You want to teach them how to walk with you by themselves first,” Mr. Gould said.

Inside the livestock barn, a donkey was also feeling hungry and took a bite out of one of the beams in the barn wall. A group of girls crowded around Abby and Bella, two miniature horses.

Next to the fiber tent, where artisans demonstrated spinning and weaving, Andy Rice demonstrated sheep shearing. Mr. Rice, who has been coming to the Vineyard to shear for over 20 years, said shearing is an art form in itself.

“People don’t understand, they think everybody shears their own sheep,” he said. But it takes about 10 years and 10,000 sheep before a shearer masters the trade, he said.

Bob Ganz with his homegrown tomatoes. — Timothy Johnson

With the help of border collie Megan, Mr. Rice also demonstrated how to herd three ducks.

People sipped lemonades with large lemon wedges in their cups and ate corn dogs drizzled in mustard.

Paul from Super Fried Chicken leaned out of the window to enticed fair-goers with a free sample of his fried chicken. He created the recipe with his wife, Pat, 60 years ago, and they’ve been bringing Super Fried Chicken to the Vineyard for at least 15 years now.

“Take this with you, and when you get hungry come back and see me,” he said to a young woman, handing her a piece of chicken. “Eat my chicken and live forever.”

Vineyard-based food booths were set-up next to the kettle corn stands and deep fried treats. One man reading a fair program noted, “Ooh, Pie Chicks are here.”

Mangku Truck proffered its rice bowls and the West Tisbury Firefighters Civic Association’s burger booth grilled up patties.

Border collie ready to show off her herding skills. — Maria Thibodeau

By the games a group of boys played with their prizes: rainbow basketballs and inflatable baseball bats.

The carousal turned, the tea cups spun and the zipper whirled around and around and around. Across the grounds, a rooster crowed, heralding the beginning of the fair.

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair takes place Thursday, August 18 through Sunday, August 21 The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. View the Fair Book and complete schedule of events.

More photos from the first day of the Ag Fair.