Join the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society from August 19th to in West Tisbury for the 159th year of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair! The fair is four days of fun and has grown into an island tradition. There are Ferris wheels and other rides, fried food, animal shows, carnival games, performances and entertainers, music, and more! The fair is open 10 am to 11 pm Thursday through Saturday, and open Sunday 10 am to 7 pm. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids 5-12 and seniors 62+. Children 5 and under are free. Parking costs $5.
The fair had a humble start in late October of 1858, with a single day of livestock expos and cattle shows. The next year in 1859 island farmers united, forming the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society to collaborate and improve local agricultural resources. The fair continued to grow, expanding to a three-day event by 1925. From 1942 to 1946 the fair was discontinued on account of World War II. The fair was held at the old Ag Hall, or The Grange Hall until 1994 when a new Ag Hall was raised with the help of hundreds of islanders. In 1996 the fair relocated tobacco barns from Deerfield, Mass to create barns for the animals shown during the fair. In 1998 the fair became a four-day event. A second animal barn was raised by Amish builders in 2008. After celebrating their 150th year in 2011 the fair purchased 10 acres of land in 2012 from the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. In 2016 they installed a solar array that powers the fair and the nearby ice arena.
Over the years the event has grown to the current four days and become an island institution. It often marks the final hurrah of summer and is a wonderful way to celebrate the island’s agriculture and all things August on the Island! Be sure to watch the pig races, women’s skillet toss, woodsman’s events, dog show, horse pulls, and more. In addition to the animals, the fair offers rides, carnival games, entertainers, and lots of fair food that people of all ages will love!