Vineyard Gazette
Wednesday of last week was a great day for the Vineyard.
Agricultural Fair
West Tisbury History
Maia Coleman
The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society has unveiled the winning poster for the fair this summer honoring Emma Hall, a longtime fair volunteer who died this winter in a motor vehicle accident.
Agricultural Fair


Octopus rid at the Ag Fair

All paths, roads, streams and trails point this weekend to the 147th annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair in West Tisbury. Clear skies and warm, dry temperatures are predicted for the next three days and that means, if you’ll pardon the pun, fair weather.

“The summer colors are here. Blue and green. The sky is blue and the grass is green. This is perfect weather for a fair. What could be better?” asked Eleanor Neubert, fair manager.


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.

Ag fair sign

In just a few weeks, the agricultural hall grounds in West Tisbury will be abuzz with activity. Already there are signs that the annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair — the first day is August 21 — is just around the corner.


An account of the first Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair, which at the time was called simply the fair and cattle show, from the Oct. 14, 1859 edition of the Vineyard Gazette recounts that the show was "well attended by people from all parts of the County."

The gates opened half an hour early this year for the 146th annual Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair because of the number of people milling in the parking lot. And at 10:45 a.m. yesterday the line in front of the West Tisbury firemen's hamburger booth was the shortest it will be all weekend. At peak hours, the wait for a grilled-to-perfection burger can take up to 15 minutes, but on this morning, only two people were waiting, their elbows up on the counter.


It was nearing four o'clock at the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society's 143rd annual Livestock Show and Fair on Saturday - time for the Birds of Prey show to begin - but in the heart of the crowd beside the tent full of owls and hawks, it was not a peregrine falcon but rather President Bill Clinton who was attracting the attention.