A fair to remember


Updated Aug. 19

Sunday: 3 pm 

The crowds were mostly gone by mid-Sunday afternoon, but there were still racing pigs, the skillet toss, and plenty of prizewinning quilts, artwork, and handcrafted woodwork to see. The music tent was lively with the Pinkletinks entertaining children in the afternoon, followed by the Holy Rock and Roll Show by the Brothers McMahon, with drummer Ted McInnes doing a fine rendition of The Band’s “The Weight.”

Sunday was the day to try all the great foods you waited all year to splurge on without waiting in line. Fried Twinkies and Snickers bars, fried dough, root beer floats, followed, of course, by one of those popular Frankie’s Flatbreads made with nothing but fresh veggies and mysterious sauce on a thin gluten-less crust.

It was a good time to browse the barns, petting horses, goats, and alpaca without the struggle for a spot up close. Closing day of the Ag Fair is a good way to wrap-up a summer well spent.

– Connie Berry

Saturday 7 pm: Darts were flying, BB guns were firing, and rings were flung, but stubbornly bouncing off each bottle (I’ll master ring toss one of these years). Cushing Amusements has no shortage of games that appear easy, but actually take the carnival equivalent of a black belt in karate to beat. There was basketball, water guns, and the wacky wire, a game where the player must navigate a ring around a slow moving metal coil without touching. Prizes ranged from plush elephants to neon light swords. 

Amusements didn’t stop at the games. Fair-goers stood in long lines for rides that spun, twisted, and flipped. There was the Zipper, the swing ride, and the giant slide. 

Playing so many games and hopping on so many rides gets the adrenaline pumping and the appetite rumbling. The best remedy: fried dough. Plain, chocolate, and apple plus powdered sugar. There is a pizza sauce option, but does anyone actually order that over chocolate and apple?

-Brian Dowd

Thursday 7 pm: Plenty of parking and moving lines as the Fair lights start to flicker on. The Acoustic Corner echoes string band twang from Nancy Jephcote & the Flying Elbows, as groups meander back and forth from the Hall, the fiber tent, and barn outside the Pulling Ring. Quilts, photography, art, vegetables, perennials and more pepper the Hall walls and beams as onlookers stopped to get a glimpse, admire, and move on. The fiber tent hosts a display of looms and textiles, plus the softest sweaters, hats, and blankets you’ve ever felt. And the livestock, as it always does, puts onlookers in awe. Black and white spotted piglets with wagging curly tails, a brown cow with her calf, a pen of kid goats — plus roosters, chicks, rabbits, and sheep galore.

By 9 pm, when the barn closes, and the fair is fully illuminated. An orange harvest moon rises above the clouds, offering another pearl of light among all the others trimming the spinning, whirling amusement rides on night one on the fair grounds.
– Brittany Bowker

Thursday, 4:30 pm: Fair goers streamed into the Ag Hall where prize vegetables, needleworks, photos, baked goods, flowers, and numerous other exhibits filled every corner. 

Shipwright Ted Box stood near his blue-ribbon-winning wood cabinet, which with its butterfly wing doors, attracted endless curiosity and questions. A crowd favorite was 9-year-old Lila Cherny’s double-ribbon-winning sailor’s valentine. A wood-framed arrangement of seashells with a miniature seascape in the center, the valentine won a blue ribbon and a special baby blue ribbon denoting best in class. Outside amid the food vendors, the West Tisbury Fire Department was throwing up smoke and cranking out hamburgers with a big line in front of their stall. Nearby, Pie Chicks owner Chrissy Kinsman served up frozen Key Lime pie wedges on popsicle sticks to eager folks.
– Rich Saltzberg 


Thursday, 3:30 pm: Teamsters led their prized oxen, each weighing thousands of pounds, to the center of the ring — the gentle giants flicking flies from their hide with feathered tails. 

One black spotted ox sniffled impatiently, protesting the intense heat. 

The alpacas near the Fiber Tent, just as gentle but not as giant, soaked up the attention of many passersby, overwhelmed by the velvety-smooth texture of their wool.

The aroma of fried dough swirled together with the smoky scent of burgers grilling at the Firemen’s Burger Booth, coalescing into a scent strong enough to tempt children away from lengthy lines for rides. “I’m hungry mommy, let’s go over here,” a young girl in a flowered sundress exclaimed as she tugged her mother’s hand with fervor. 

All the while, the distant braying of sheep and the whinnying of horses added a calmness to the scene, despite thousands of fairgoers drifting from one attraction to the next.

-Lucas Thors

Thursday, 2:30 pm: It’s Thursday in mid-August, which can only mean one thing: the Ag Fair is back. And it didn’t take long for it to feel like it was in full swing. Kids laughing and screaming from The Zipper could be heard from the parking lot, and there was no shortage of Fair food to make mouths water.

Today, Fair goers got their first glimpse of the new Cushing Amusements Ferris wheel, which came all the way from Italy, and it’s sure to dazzle tonight when it’s lit up.

Robinson’s Racing Pigs, an old favorite, drew a crowd with 4-month-old piglets racing around the track for the shot of winning an Oreo cookie. Their names, such as “Kim Kardashi-ham” and “Taylor not so Swift” got some laughs. The perfect weather continues, making this year feel like you could be here all day and night. We just might be. Check back throughout the Fair for more updates and coverage.
– Gabrielle Mannino