From Best in Show to Best Skillet Toss, Winners Take All at Agricultural Fair
Sam Bungey

Sam Hayes of Edgartown affectionately pinned back the ears of his giant American pit bull terrier, Wallace, as owner and canine took a breather from Sunday’s dog show.

It was the last day of the 147th Annual Livestock Show and Fair of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society. A total of 29,706 entrance tickets were sold, happily surprising organizers who were braced for recession-era frugality and low returns on a late summer start date.

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Time for Homegrown Thrills at Fair
Julia Rappaport

Crispy vegetable tempura. The Salt and Pepper shaker. Low-fat muffins. These are the things which were not at the first Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair held in West Tisbury 147 years ago.

And here are the things that were: goats for milking, oxen for pulling carts and chickens whose eggs made breakfast in the morning and whose meat went into supper.

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Ag Fair is Best in Show

Ag Fair Is Best in Show

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society won four awards including the Best of Show honor at the 2009 Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs’ Association Media Awards competition held this month in Marlborough.

The fair’s poster, by the Vineyard Gazette’s Morgan Lucero, was awarded best of show.

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Oxen Take Blue Prize for Annual Fair Poster
Sam Bungey

As entries pour in for the 148th annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair, poster competition winner Morgan Lucero is readying her autograph hand.

Ms. Lucero’s winning entry for the highly competitive contest is of a team of strapping oxen attached to a cart in the foreground of the agricultural hall.

“I was very excited, it felt like I’d won the lottery,” said Ms. Lucero yesterday, “It’s the little things in life, you know.”

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Please Excuse Us While We Have a Calf, and Other Wonders of the Annual Fair
Brittany Lyte

Newborn calves and sun-splashed grounds drew a crowd of more than 30,000 people from across New England to the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Show and Fair this weekend, making the 148th annual festival a triumph.

“Considering the weather and how hot and humid it was all weekend, everything went fine,” said hall manager Kathy Lobb. “Even [Saturday] night with the threat of bad weather, nobody went into a panic.”

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Fair Time Again in West Tisbury
Brittany Lyte

They come for the fun and festivities or they come to claim a first place prize. No matter the motivation, they come — throngs of people eager to turn the turnstiles onto the grounds of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Show and Fair.

Starting Thursday, Island residents and visitors alike will swarm the 148th Annual Agricultural Fair for four days and nights, to hear thrumming tractors and bands of banjos, stain their lips and tongues with blue and red sno-cone juice and dizzy themselves on the chutes of the sky-high carnival slide.

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Fair Weather Shines on Fairgrounds
Brittany Lyte

Just before 10 a.m. on opening day, the livestock pens, fried food booths and motionless carnival rides staked in the grounds of the 148th annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Show and Fair were unpeopled and peaceful in the last minutes before the gates opened to a zealous huddle of fairgoers eager to be among the first to sample the spectacles awaiting inside.

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Summer’s Dizzying Height

Summer’s Dizzying Height

For some people, in other places, the critical deadline to meet each year is April 15, which has something to do with taxes. For many people on the Island, it’s the deadline for entering the annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair, which has everything to do with fun. Paperwork for all fair entries is due by Monday at 5 p.m. Those otherwise sweet fair workers can be every bit as strict as the Internal Revenue Service, so don’t test them by tripping in on Tuesday.

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Stolen Poultry at the Fair Leaves Owners, Organizers Asking Why
Jim Hickey

Several chickens entered into the livestock competition of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair were stolen from their cages, shattering for many the old-fashioned sense of innocence of the event while prompting officials to consider increased security measures when the fair resumes next year.

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Fair Warning: Entry Forms Due Monday, Jobs Open

It’s only just over a week before gates open on the 149th annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair on Thursday, August 19, but already it is time to sign up for jobs and prepare your entries for all categories — and time even to mark on your calendar earlier deadlines for next year’s extraordinary celebrations of the 150th fair.

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