Bleats of goats, the creak of oxen carts and a voice over the PA system declared the 158th annual Agricultural Fair officially open at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Female goats a year and under were the first event of the day.

“We look for clean goats, first and foremost,” said goat judge Scott Brundage. “No ticks, well taken care of. And we look for wide hips.”

The goat event has risen in popularity with 4H clubs returning to the Island, said Anne Speakman. Ms. Speakman is a volunteer with both 4H and the Native Earth Teaching Farm in Chilmark.

The midway calls. — Maria Thibodeau

“We have five baby goats, the kids love them,” she said. “It is very exciting bringing them here.”

A blue ribbon was awarded to Twilight the goat from the At Home in the Woods School, and the second place red ribbon went to Midnight, Twilight’s sister. Children from the school along with facilitators Kaila Allen-Posin and her sister Arianna Binney looked on with pride.

In the ring adjacent to the goats, larger animals took center stage. In addition to being a judge, Mr. Brundage enters oxen every year. Grizzly and Bruin weigh 2,600 pounds and 2,800 pounds respectively.

Oxen of different size, shape and breed walked around the ring as Melanie Brundage, Scott’s wife, provided educational tidbits about the animals for the audience.

Strike up the band! — Maria Thibodeau

Day one of the fair was an educational experience for adults and children alike. The Riendau family of Columbia, Conn. know a lot about animals but not much about Island life.

“Justin had to parallel park the trailer on the ferry over here, talk about an adventure,” said Rachel Riendau. Rachel, her husband Justin, and her two sons Henri and Isaac will spend the night in a tent behind the barn after showing their oxen, Dozer and Digger.

As the animal judging got underway, the exhibits in the hall were in the midst of serious evaluation. Judging of vegetables, baked goods, art and textiles began Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., and will be completed Thursday afternoon.

Nancy Weaver, head judge for adult quilts and known as the quilt queen, relishes the moment the doors to the hall finally open. “We get these guys up on the ladders and they hang all the quilts so everything is just perfect. The moment it’s all set, it’s just so beautiful. Then the crowds come rushing in.”

At 11 a.m., sheep shearer Andy Rice was still warming up for the weekend. After hurting his back moving bales of hay on his farm in Vermont, Mr. Rice had taken a shearing hiatus.

Piglets are always adorable. — Maria Thibodeau

“It’s been six weeks since I hurt my back,” he said. “I’m a bit tight. So I just did this first one to get loose. The next session I’ll really get into the history of it all.”

Mr. Rice sheared a lamb from Mermaid Farm and planned to continue Thursday’s schedule with four more shearing demonstrations. He wears a hands-free microphone as he shears in order to crack jokes and narrate the action.

“See this little guy has never been to the barbershop before, we’ll do the belly wool first. . . You know, the record for shearing a lamb this size is 16 seconds. This will take a bit longer than that, but we’ll go slow today,” Mr. Rice said.

In addition to the livestock and exhibition hall, the midway with its games of chance beckoned along with the rows of food booths. And above it all, the Ferris wheel slowly turned, taking in the timeless scene as it has for 158 years.

More pictures.

The Agricultural Fair and Livestock show continues through the weekend, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.