Word to Fairgoers: All Roads Do Lead There
Sara Brown
Nothing, not even a partial road closure and some imposing detour signs, will keep people from the fair. That’s the hope of Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society as the 152nd annual Livestock Show and Fair begins today at the West Tisbury fair grounds on Panhandle Road.
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Big, Buff and Ready to Rough It, Draft Horses Get the Job Done
Remy Tumin

Nothing so gentle as real strength, nothing so strong as true gentleness.

“That’s what we say about draft horses,” Bruce Marshard said, standing next to one of his Percheron horses, Sonny. His pasture mate and fellow Percheron Max was grazing nearby.

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Agricultural Fair Arrives in West Tisbury

On Thursday, August 15, the corn dogs come to town. So does the Ferris wheel, Robinson’s racing pigs, goat and swine exhibits, woodsmen’s competition, chop stick knitting contest, the list just keeps going on and on as the 152nd Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Livestock Show and Fair begins.

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Ferris Wheel Proposal Tops the Fair
Olivia Hull

On Thursday at around 7 p.m., Marques Rivers was seen fiddling with something in his pocket. He stood beside his girlfriend of almost five years, Sarah Neubert, waiting to board the Ferris wheel at the Agricultural Fair. It was their annual “date ride” they said, the one they always take the first day of the fair. Ms. Neubert, who is mildly afraid of heights, was nervous, but not nearly as nervous as Mr. Rivers. Minutes later, just as she had summoned the courage to look up from her hands and take in the view from atop the wheel, the ride stopped.

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Fair Celebrates Old Traditions, Welcomes New
Olivia Hull and Tara Keegan
On opening day of the 151st Agricultural Fair, Joseph and Jonathan Ruzzo, ages seven and four respectively, ran back and forth from the big barn to the judging stand, each time carrying a new set of goats in their arms. They wore knee-high rain boots and looked like seasoned pros, although this was their first time participating in the fair.
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Masters of the Midway Brought the Fair to Life

Excerpted from Bountiful: A History of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society and the Livestock Show and Fair, by Susan Klein, with photographs by Alan Brigish (Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, 2012).

This excerpt is taken from chapter 9 which tells the story of the midway and how it came to play an integral part of the annual Island tradition.

“My favorite was the Scrambler! It was really fun!”

— Dylan Biggs, 7 years of age

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At Last, Fair History Explored and Explained
Sara Brown

The first Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair was held on October 26, 1858: it was announced on September 15 of that year. And thus began a pilgrimage that would be unfamiliar in nature though familiar in spirit to modern-day fairgoers: 1,800 people made their way to the Grange Hall in West Tisbury by horseback, in wagons or on foot.

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Crescendo Builds for Agricultural Fair
Olivia Hull and Tara Keegan

Standing before the Enter sign at the Agricultural Society fairgrounds the week before the annual fair, there is a strong sense of anticipation. There’s not much to see. Foot-tall pink flags mark the spots for the vendors that will sell food and goods on the lawn. A few rides sit folded in the corner of the property. People drift in and out of the hall, submitting entries. The commotion is only beginning.

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They'll Be the Judge of That at the Fair
Remy Tumin

The names of judges at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair are largely kept anonymous for fear of bullying, bribery or heckling. There is one livestock judge from off-Island who goes by Steve, although no one can recall his last name. But a handful of judges agreed to talk to the Gazette before they assume judging duties on the fair grounds in West Tisbury later this week as the 151st annual fair gets under way.

Fair entrees will begin arriving on Wednesday afternoon, judging taking place that evening and Thursday morning in the main hall.

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Annual Agricultural Fair Opens Thursday Morning in West Tisbury
MANDY LOCKE

An excited, yet not quite frantic, bustle around West Tisbury's Agricultural Hall suggests that it's that time again. Just in case the hectic scene isn't enough of a sign, a yellow, blue, green and pink merry-go-round sits empty in the grass semicircle in front of the Agricultural Hall, waiting to take kids for a spin.

The 140th Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society's Livestock and Fair will kick off Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

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