Former Oak Bluffs postmaster Paul Leonard manned the ticket booth at the opening of the 157th Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair on Thursday morning. Just a few months into retirement, Mr. Leonard was hard at work with two water bottles in his pockets for hydration. He said it was his first year volunteering at the fair.

“I get to see things during the day I never got to see before,” he said before jumping back in the ticket booth to serve the growing line.

Inside the fair the sounds of sizzling fryers, squealing piglets and a brass band greeted the first visitors, along with screams of joy, and dread, from the field of carnival rides.

Step right up, everyone's a winner. — Maria Thibodeau

Kathie Olsen and her family headed first to the carnival games, where her two grandchildren fished for rubber ducklings. It didn’t take long for both kids to win prizes. Emmett Taylor, 9, chose a green teddy bear.

“I wanted to pick something that would never go away, like a balloon,” he said.

Tillie Taylor, 5, went for a blue owl.

“It’s a turquoise owl,” she clarified. “Turquoise is my favorite color.”

“They’ve been coming here their whole lives,” said Ms. Olsen. “Next year, Emmett says he’ll work here.”

The fair is open every day all weekend, wrapping up on Sunday at 7 p.m. Parking prices have increased this year to $10 but otherwise little has changed. A perennial crowd favorite, Robinson’s Racing Pigs were warming up for their first race of the day. Randy Ross gestured to the track featuring a 1400-gallon, 24-foot long water container for the contestants to piggy paddle through.

He said the one named Kim Kar

Olivia and her little piggies are waiting for you. — Maria Thibodeau

dashaham is the favorite this year, up against the likes of Brittany Spare Ribs and Taylor Not-So-Swift.

His wife, Sharon (Pig Lady) Ross, added that spectators may go home with a prize. “We pick out cheerleaders, one for each pig,” she said. “If they win, they get a ribbon.”

While the pigs continued to practice, livestock judging was already in

full swing, beginning with oxen. Two veered off the path toward a child peering through the fence, holding out her hand. She gently laid it on one of the ox’s heads and caressed the fur. A larger hand reached out from behind her and started scratching the ox’s muzzle. “I come for the animals every year,” said Betsy Donnelly, the hand’s owner. “I’m here every day.” With lunchtime swiftly approaching, dozens of food trucks and trailers were preparing fair cuisines ranging from

strawberry shortcake to “fresh, all natural, no cholesterol, super fried” chicken.

Liam O'Hanlon gets a high-five on opening day. — Maria Thibodeau

“We made up the recipe 60 years ago,” said Super Fried Chicken co-owner Pat Jurawski. “When we made it at home, everyone said it was super, super, super!”

Ms. Jurawski added that the trailer, adorned with the logo of a chicken in a cape, is also a work of art and has a second life as an exhibit in the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut.

As for any famous frequent customers, well, they’re a secretive bunch.

“Obama’s Secret Service comes here every time they visit,” she said, without divulging more.

Outside the hall the Blue Hill Brass Quartet provided entertainment for those waiting to find out the judge’s results. The tune was the 2008 pop hit Happy. The horns blared out the chorus, and a young girl sitting nearby joined in.

“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, because I’m happy,” she sang.

Judging by the wide smiles and giggling kids in the audience, she wasn’t the only one.

The fair will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Parking on the fairgrounds is $10.