On Saturday night, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish will take center state at the Agricultural Hall, just as they have every November since 1994 when Islanders got together to put up a new building out of an old dairy barn.

The annual Barn Raiser’s Ball celebrates a heady moment in Vineyard history when the community rallied in support of the Island’s farming heritage by literally hoisting beams and hammering nails to create a new home for the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society.

In a different era, in a different way, the Agricultural Society once again needs community help, this time to raise its game. Faced with mortgages of about $1 million on a land purchase and flat revenues from its principal source of income, the summer Ag Fair, the organization is ripe for re-evaluating its revenue model, if not its role in the Island’s economy.

Founded in 1859 by a special act of the state legislature, the society’s official mission is to improve the condition of agriculture, horticulture and the “mechanic and domestic arts,” as well as to encourage the raising of stock and the introduction of new breeds. The annual fair with its juried shows continues to draw excitement and entries from across the Island. The society gives scholarships for high school students considering agricultural and related careers, offers an apprenticeship program and at various times has been more or less active in bringing in speakers and skills training to the Island.

Those who have kept the mission and ethic of this important Island institution alive for generations deserve our respect and appreciation. But the society’s reluctance to ask people who attend the Barn Raiser’s Ball for even a voluntary donation is a small indication that some things really need to change.

The society remains heavily reliant on an aging cadre of dedicated volunteers while many nonprofits on the Island have evolved to full-time professional management and fundraising boards. At its annual meeting later this month, the society will consider term limits for its trustees, some of whom have been in place for three decades.

Among other things, the retirement of Eleanor Neubert, the longtime fair manager, who has done a wonderful job of overseeing expansion of the annual event while retaining its affordability and small-town flavor, offers an opportunity to rethink the society’s role in a new economic environment.

The challenge comes at a good time. Farming on Martha’s Vineyard is experiencing something of a renaissance, with scores of young people returning to the land to make a living in old as well as creative new ways. A revitalized ag society could take on a greater role in helping to promote and market locally grown and made products. A stronger partnership with fishermen and shellfishermen could be explored. The vibrant farm-to-table movement suggests a stronger link could be forged with caterers and restaurateurs.

The community can help the society in large and small ways. Urging the town of West Tisbury to revisit restrictions on the rental of the hall could open up an attractive up-Island venue and provide the society with another reliable revenue stream. The idea of moving the Farmers’ Market from the Grange to the Ag Hall — already on the table for discussion — could not only ease summer traffic congestion in the village but also enable more vendors to participate. More immediately, those who come to kick up their heels to the strains of Johnny Hoy this weekend can surely dig out a sawbuck or two for the first-ever donation jar.

Sad but true: barnraising is now just a fond memory. What the Agricultural Society needs today is fundraising.