My favorite week of the summer has arrived: fair week!

Having grown up in Atlanta, I missed out on a childhood of attending small-town agricultural fairs, so when we arrived on-Island 15 years ago, the Martha’s Vineyard fair was an entirely new experience. From that very first fair visit, I have loved everything about it: the Ferris wheel, the draft horses, the skillet-throwing contest, the flower displays, the wilting vegetables, the kettle corn.

The animal barn holds a particular magic, where visitors are greeted with wild-colored chickens and long-eared rabbits. The larger animals shuffle gently in their stalls as they wait for judging, and families coo and aww over new piglets and pygmy goats.

It is the only time in the busy season that I see many of my year-round friends; Islanders emerge from the depths of hectic August for a gasp of summertime fun. Couples come for date night, friends gather over vegetable tempura and kids buzz on sugar and adrenaline while clasping sweaty ride tickets.

In a time of political tension and world strife, it is remarkably refreshing to have a night of such simple joy. It is an evening for everyone.

When I first started Slip Away Farm, my younger brother, Christian, and I became entirely obsessed with entering every vegetable category possible. One year, we entered over 20 different categories and spent hours combing the field for the perfect entries: no blemishes, perfectly ripe, uniform in size.

Early Thursday morning we carefully loaded all the entries into the car and caught the first Chappy ferry ride across. At the Ag Hall, we meticulously arranged each vegetable on their white paper display plates before handing them off with a blessing to fair officials.

Several hours later, post-judging, Christian made it to the fair ahead of me, calling me from inside the Ag Hall with news: we had won nothing. No blues, no reds, not even a white or an honorable mention. Nada, zip, nothing. I was crestfallen.

But, turns out, Christian had simply been, as my dad would have said, jerking my chain. We did have ribbons of all colors tied to many of our plates. In fact, we won so many that year that I took the two of us out to dinner on our prize money. An inexpensive dinner to be sure, but dinner nonetheless.

For the sake of time, I have learned to reign in my entry-enthusiasm a bit. This year we’ll be entering a modest 12 vegetable categories (including the vague and difficult-to-make-something-that-doesn’t-look-like-a-five-year-old-did-it vegetable sculpture category) and three flower categories. All my fingers and toes are crossed.

Several other Chappaquiddickers will also be entering items into the fair this year. Margaret Knight will be submitting an acrylic painting and phlox. She will also be going head-to-head with fellow Chappaquiddicker Toby Yarmolinsky in the garlic category, hoping for a third-time win. I imagine it is going to be a tight race, especially since Toby’s seed garlic is a descendant of Margaret’s garden.

Margaret’s husband Sidney Morris will have on display his Vineyard Voyagers Dream Wagon, a maker-space mobile trailer ready for all sorts of adventures. The wagon will be at the fair all four days.

My sister-in-law Molly Peach Mayhew, daughter of Steve and Laura Peach of Chappy and current Chilmark resident, is submitting her jam made with beach plums gathered on Chappaquiddick.

The Schuster family is always up for a challenge. After a “best presentation” for their pie last year, they will be entering another one and going for “best taste” this time around. The flavor had not yet been determined at deadline. The youngest Schuster, Lars, will be testing his skills in the chopstick knitting contest on Friday. He is feeling confident.

And finally, Bridger, 7, and Norah Westhelle, 5, will be entering their artwork into the fair this year.

Good luck to everyone!

For any Chappaquiddicker looking for something to do this weekend that is a little bit closer to home, there is a Chamber Music Concert at the Chappy Community Center this coming Friday, August 17 at 7:30 p.m. Musicians from A Far Cry, the acclaimed Boston-based chamber orchestra, will perform a program of Shulhoff, Carillo, Golijov and Dvorak. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

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