Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair

martha's vineyard agricultural fair

Whether you live in the Vineyard or are heading there in August,  you will want to check out the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair!   Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society  has sponsored this fair from 1858, making this their 160th year.  The fair runs four days from August 18th to the 21st in West Tisbury.

martha's vineyard agricultural fair
Fair Poster designed by island artist, Saundra LaBell.

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 9:30 am to 7 pm. Carnival opens 11am each day of the fair. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for kids 5-12 and seniors 62+. Children 4 and under are free. Fair-goers are encouraged to buy their tickets online to avoid lines and crowding at the ticket booth.

The History of Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural 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!

AlisonShawphoto 8499
Photo Credit Alison Shaw

In addition to a being a well-loved island tradition and a great day of wholesome family fun, the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair also provides a venue for locals to showcase their best baked goods, crafts, most beautiful vegetables or animals. There is still time; all entries due by August 14th.

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Win a One-of-a Kind Homemade Quilt

agric raffle quilt
The Raffle Quilt

To celebrate their 160thyear, the Martha’s Vineyard Modern Quilt Guild has been busy creating quilts from vintage Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair t-shirts.  Each quilt is a time capsule of the fairs they represent, invoking memories of fairs past. Like the year you entered the skillet toss and won a ribbon or the year you went to the fair for the first time. You can enter the bidding to win one of these works of art or buy a ticket and enter the raffle drawing for the one quilt being raffled off. You can see the beautiful quilts displayed on the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair website.

You can purchase tickets and place your bid on-line or stop by the T-Shirt booth at the fair. The drawing will be held August 21st, the last day of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair.




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