West Tisbury: The booths are going up


It’s always exciting to drive past the Ag Hall in August and watch preparations for the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair. The booths are going up, and rides and bleachers are set throughout the fairgrounds. By the time you are reading this on Thursday, everything will be ready to welcome you. Exhibits will fill the hall and sport their blue, red, or white ribbons. Food booths will be in full production, with lines of hungry fairgoers stretching out in front of them. Animals will fill the barns. There will be exhibits of fiber arts, displays of everything imaginable, dogs, shuckers, and woodcutters. There will be music galore. 

The Ag Society wants to make this a zero-waste event, so ask everyone attending to bring their own refillable water bottles, coffee cups, bamboo forks and spoons, cloth napkins, metal straws. There will be a tent up set outside the northeast corner of the hall giving educational information about how to be less wasteful and more self-sufficient. The Green Team, a group of volunteers, will transport food waste for composting to Thimble Farm.

This year’s fair, the 158th, begins on Thursday morning, and runs through the weekend, August 15 to 18. The sign is up on State Road welcoming all to “Come to the Fair.”

If you are interested in photographs of fairs past, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is opening an exhibition of images from the 2018 fair. A group of local photographers have documented and interpreted the fair. The photographers are: Bob Avakian, Brooke Barletta, Lisa Brown, Vincent Chahley, Claire Ganz, Gwen Norton, Dena Porter, Adrienne Ryan, Alison Shaw, Max Skjoldebrand, and Maria Thibodeau. 

Next week, a new exhibition opens at the museum, a collection of black-and-white photographs by West Tisbury’s Dan Waters. It’s called “Face Value: Portraits from the 21st Century.” When the museum opened, one of Dan’s photographs hung prominently in the front hallway, a huge blowup of Tom Vogl and Katherine Long holding one of their chickens. I loved seeing their beloved faces, and am curious who other of Dan’s subjects will be. There will be plenty of time to find out; the exhibition will continue through Nov. 24.

Two other West Tisbury artists are having shows right in town. Both are amazing painters, and their shows reflect a deepening study of their medium and their personal visions of “What is art?”

Leslie Baker is exhibiting “Color Studies: Paintings, Collage, and Structures” at A Gallery. Her work of the past few years has been an exploration of pure color, in her words, “what one color does to another, how color can invigorate and subdue, or transform even a relatively monochromatic field.” They invite viewers to study them and observe how paint is applied to a surface, what those applied colors can be made to do.

The other is Max Decker, who opened his show at the Field Gallery last Sunday. Max is an oil painter of his personal world. Many of his paintings are of his family, his wife Laura and son Robin, going about their daily lives. Many are still life settings around the family dinner table; many others are landscapes of daily walks around town.

At the library this coming week:

Friday, August 16, 10 am to noon, Mac pro Paul Levy is on hand to help with Mac problems. This summer’s last library lunch will be served on the porch from noon to 1 pm. At 3 pm, Charlotte Rooney will give one-of-a-kind henna tattoos. Signup is required.

Saturday, August 17, 10:30 am, a special story time for children ages 4 and up. Jacob Kramer will read from his new book, “Noodlephant,” and lead a noodle-themed craft.

Monday, August 19, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky will lead her Balance Workshop. At 6:30 pm, free movies for families and teens.

Tuesday, August 20, 10:30 am, Jennifer Burkin will lead an “Altered Books” workshop for kids ages 8 and up. Signup is required. Also at 10:30, Felix Neck’s Ryan Ofsthun will talk about Island mammals. There will be photos, specimens, and fun information. At 4:30 pm, architect Bruce MacNelly will present “First House: Memory and Tradition.”

Wednesday, August 21, 4 pm, a showing of “Conscious Light,” a film about the life and teachings of Avatar Adi Da Samraj.

Thursday, August 22, 4:30 pm, an outdoor rock concert for kids with the Pinkletinks! The dance will move inside to the Community Room in case of rain.

The weather has finally cooled down, and with lower humidity, so it’s more comfortable to be outside. Cool breezes have made it lovely. The sweet scent of phlox perfumes the garden, making it especially pleasant to sit outside and enjoy a quiet summer evening. Take time to wish on a star and count the fireflies.