For the past two years Barbara Ronchetti has featured an alpaca on her Agricultural Fair poster entry. This stands to reason as she is the owner of Island Alpaca on the Vineyard, and at the present moment is busily preparing for shearing day on Saturday, where over 50 alpacas will get their spring haircuts.

But neither entry won the annual competition so this year she decided to switch it up with a blue ribbon winning ox. This turned out to be the right decision as her image was recently chosen as the poster for the 157th annual Agricultural Fair held August 16-19.

The poster contest is a heated, yet friendly competition. Fair manager Amy Coffey said over 40 entries were received this year. The poster artwork is judged anonymously by an advisory committee.

“The images are sent to each judge days before the actual judging to give them time to reflect on them,” Ms. Coffey said.

Ms. Ronchetti said that when searching for a new idea this year she looked on the internet and came across a picture of an ox taken by Susie Middleton. She tried to reach Ms. Middleton to ask her permission but at first was unable to connect with her.

“When I finally did it had already been completed,” Ms. Ronchetti said. “Thank goodness she said it was okay to use it.”

Ms. Ronchetti said her 96-year-old mother was a great inspiration during the process. “The day before it was due we were both up until 1:30 in the morning,” she said. Her mother was working on a still life drawing of fruit (not for the poster contest) and whenever Ms. Ronchetti began to tire she would urge her onward.

“Learning I had won was such a shock,” Ms. Ronchetti said. “I’m thrilled and honored.”

Winning the Agricultural Fair poster contest also completes a journey that began when Ms. Ronchetti first attended the Agricultural Fair about 20 years ago.

“That is where I saw my first alpaca,” she said. “And I fell in love with it.”

Island Alpaca is located at 1 Head of the Pond Road in Oak Bluffs. Shearing day takes place on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.