The 159th Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair, which was initially canceled in April amid mounting fears of COVID-19, is having a virtual comeback. The event, held online from August 20 through 23, was created to help Vineyarders “still celebrate our agricultural history, traditions, and all the talent this Island holds together, but from a safe distance,” the Virtual Fair Committee wrote.
The entire event, including this year’s poster, has been reimagined for an online experience. Robin Nagle of West Tisbury created the original poster design, and made the proper adjustments to reflect the new normal. The farm animals were given masks, and the event slogan became “Staying at home on the farm.”
The virtual event will be held on the Agricultural Society’s website. While the calendar of events has yet to be announced, the Ag Society has noted that the Poster Shack, Entertainment Tent, Fiber Tent, Barn, and Hall will be part of the virtual experience — as well as many new elements and surprises.
Entries for the various competitive categories opened on July 1, and competitors are allowed to upload three photos to show off their artwork, horticultural achievements, livestock, and many other agricultural accomplishments. Entries must have been completed within the last 12 months, and must be submitted by 5 pm, August 10, at marthasvineyardagriculturalsociety.org.
The annual fair is the main fundraiser for the Agricultural Society, and canceling the in-person experience has left a big hole to fill, the Virtual Fair Committee wrote. While each entry requires a $2 donation fee, these funds only cover the direct costs of using Fair Entry, a program that facilitates online competitions and exhibitions. The Agricultural Society is encouraging Vineyarders and visitors alike to become members, purchase merchandise, or make additional donations, so that the Agricultural Society can continue to support farmers and hold future events.
Without the means to fundraise, the Virtual Fair has been made possible by the work of volunteers. “Everyone involved in the Virtual Fair has volunteered their time, service, and expertise out of their love for the fair, this Island, and its agricultural traditions,” the Virtual Fair Committee wrote.
To learn more about the Virtual Fair, the rules for entry and how to submit your work, go to fairentry.com/fair/signIn/14118.