The 157th annual Agricultural Fair was one for the record books. More than 45,000 people walked through the gates between Thursday morning and Sunday evening, said Brian Athearn, president of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society.

“On Thursday we had 11,900 people come through,” Mr. Athearn said. “That’s 4,000 more then we ever had before.” He added that the previously held record for Sunday attendance was 4,700 people. This year’s final day welcomed 10,500 fairgoers.

Excellent weather, spanning sunny to muggy to cool with a splash of rain and thunder on Saturday night, called Vineyarders from every stretch of the Island to West Tisbury. Many fairgoers had made their way to the grounds before Thursday, bringing to the judges their baked goods, jellies, homegrown vegetables, potted plants, photographs, paintings and woodcarvings which took up every available space in the barn. Hundreds of unique entries comprised 27 different departments, including the needlepoint blankets hanging from the rafters.

Racing piggies, a perennial favorite. — Maria Thibodeau

“This is the culmination of the entire summer,” said Janice Haynes on Friday, day two of the fair, from her post inside the hall. Mrs. Haynes took over the position of hall manager this year from Kathy Lobb, who held the job for over 30 years.

 She said approximately 100 judges ruled on the ribbon winners, with a minimum of three for each department. “Judging began on Wednesday evening for the junior departments and some of the adult departments.”

Five-year-old Laura Noonan raced through the hall to find her winning painting. “I’m Laura, but you can call me LuLu,” the young artist said, posing with her purple and green watercolor masterpiece. The artwork fell into the junior, under-seven category. Each piece in the category had a special award sticker pasted to it with handwritten notes that read “great work!” or “amazing job!”

First place winners in the adult category, Timothy Moore and Benjamin Tumin stood by their entries. Mr. Moore earned a blue ribbon for his first-ever entry at the fair: an Australian lamington cake.

Strolling the midway at night. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“I’m Australian. I come from the shark land so I had to honor the shark Island,” Mr. Moore said of his decision to enter his cake. His friend Mr. Tumin has earned many prize-winning entries at the fair over the years, including one extra special category. 

“I received a ribbon for the worst pickles in the fair,” Mr. Tumin said. “My sister reminded me that the ribbon was a throw-up green color.”

This year, Mr. Tumin traded in his green ribbon for a blue one, receiving first place for his yeast bread. The judges also bestowed the Thibault award on the bread, given from the Thibault family in memory of George Thibault.

Outside the hall, fairgoers enjoyed the hog wild races at Robinson’s Racing Pigs track, a sheep shearing demonstration outside the fiber tent, and the New England Lumberjack Association’s woodsmen show. As part of the multi-staged event, competitors were timed chopping through a block of wood using razor-edged axes. 

In the animal pens. — Maria Thibodeau

“The chips are flying!” the announcer shouted into the microphone as Tim Reed and Charlie Van Hall faced off under the scorching afternoon sun. Mr. Van Hall claimed victory. 

The women’s axe throwing competition made a big impression on 13-year-old Riley Apmann.

“I want to be an axe thrower,” Riley said.

Her younger sisters, Emily and Erin were more interested in checking out the rides.

Across the fairground, a group of youngsters gathered in the barn to pet the prizewinning animals. Native Earth Teaching Farm won best in show for its herd of goats, each of the three mothers bearing a set of twins. A number of 4-H kids helped their peers walk the baby goats on a leash through the barn.

“I like a lot of different animals, but the goats are one of my favorites,” said 12-year-old and first year 4-H member Ada Chronister.

Keeping the thrills going all weekend long.

Back at the midway, lines grew for fried chicken, hamburgers, tacos and any cold beverage or frozen treat. 

“There’s a camaraderie among the other vendors which is fun,” said Adrian Johnson, co-owner of the popsicle stand Yommi: Healthy Frozen Treats. “It’s really like a family here, we all sort of help each other out.”

Island Grown Initiative volunteers sorted through trash, compostables and recyclables at four different waste stations set up on the grounds. A first time collaboration with the fair, IGI collected 5,000 pounds of compost by the end of the weekend.

“It was a great collaboration,” Brian Athearn said. “We had many compliments about how the grounds were cleaned.”

This was Mr. Athearn’s first fair as president of the Agricultural Society, a position he was elected to in November.

“This was literally one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my entire life,” he said of the experience. “It was a complete and total team effort and I can’t emphasize that enough.”

More pictures.