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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Harvest Festival Honors Farming Tradition
C.K. WOLFSON

There is something comforting in the connection between old-fashioned, farm-grown accomplishments, community pride and simple pleasures. It connects us to the land and to each other. The Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society's fourth annual Harvest Festival conjures vintage images of farm life and country fairs and invites Islanders to celebrate the Vineyard's rich agricultural tradition at the fairgrounds in West Tisbury Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the Columbus Day holiday.

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Agricultural Society Annual Fair Begins with Blue Skies, Sunshine
Max Hart

It may be only a few minutes shy of 10:30 in the morning, but as Rocky Magnuson reminds the stream of people walking by, it's never too early to enjoy a little kettle corn.

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Amish Barn Builders Raise the Roof For Agricultural Society’s Latest Digs
Mark Alan Lovewell

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society has a new barn. It took only two days for dozen Amish craftsmen, working alone, to raise it. The traditionally built barn makes a perfect sister to the agricultural society’s other barns, though in this case all the wood is new.

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Agricultural Society Invites Farm Grant Applications

Agricultural Society Invites

Farm Grant Applications

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society has issued a call for applicants for its annual grant program. Eligible are all farm-related individuals or organizations whose goal is to improve the quality of life and contribute to the sustainability of the Vineyard agricultural community.

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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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Raise the Roof

Raise the Roof

Fifteen years ago, the New Hampshire barn that had been dismantled, shipped and reassembled off Panhandle Road in West Tisbury was finished, and officially became the New Agricultural Society Hall. While a decade and a half of potlucks, dances, meetings and exhibitions have taken the new out of its name, the Ag Hall remains something to celebrate. Saturday’s Barnraisers’ Ball will do just that, with help from Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. The barn doors open at 7:30 p.m., and admission is a dessert to share.

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Farm Grants Announced

Farm Grants Announced

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society has announced its 2009 grant awards. Breezy Pines Farms will receive $400 for seed and soil; the Farm Institute will receive $1,000 for a mobile hen house; Down Island Farm will receive $1,000 for herb, berry and nut production; Glenn Jackson will receive $1,000 for fencing and a small hoop house; Vineyard Open Land Foundation will receive $750 toward their organic cranberry bog weeding project; the Whiting Farm will receive $850 for pastured poultry equipment.

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Seeking Agricultural Grant Program Applicants

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society has issued a call for applicants for their annual grant program. Eligible are all farm related individuals or organizations whose goal is to improve the quality of life and contribute to the sustainability of the Martha’s Vineyard agricultural community.

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