The virtual Agricultural Fair is weeks away. Virtual tickets are on sale now for adults and children, $10 and $5 respectively, for the August 20 to 23 event. Ticket purchases constitute a donation to the Agricultural Society, and are not necessary to access the fair once it starts, according to Kristy Rose, co-founder of the virtual fair project. The digitalization of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair came about as a way to keep portions of the tradition going after dangers posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic prevented the 159th annual fair from taking place in regular fashion.
Almost all adult and children’s hall exhibits (normally seen in the Ag Hall) are open for submission virtually, Rose said. Only vegetable and baking exhibits have been nixed for virtual display and judging. Submission will be accepted until August 10 at 5 pm. Thereafter the judges will take a week to make their decisions.
“The winners will be announced on August 20, which is the first day of the virtual fair,” Rose said. An online display with ribbons will be featured on the Ag Society site, she noted.
Exhibit entries cost $2 apiece. For the kids’ exhibits, this includes fossil and shell collections, jewelry, puppets, watercolors, and photography, among many others. Rose noted the fairy garden is a very popular category.
For adults, there’s everything from bird carving to flowers to needlework.
On August 1, the virtual “poster shack” opened. Posters featuring the artwork of Robin Nagle will be on sale, along with kids’ and adults’ T shirts.
Pickups for items purchased can be done at the animal barn during Farmers Market hours, or the items can be shipped.
The popular tractor pull competition was held secretly on the Ag Hall grounds. Who won what is being kept under wraps until virtual fair time.
“It’s been confirmed that the tractor pull will air on MVTV channel 13 on August 22 at 10 am,” Rose said.
Fair food vendors will be offering the fair fare at their own locations while the virtual fair is underway. Among the vendors, Pie Chicks will offer pie-on-a-stick at their Vineyard Haven outlet, and Bill Smith’s M.V. Clambakes will offer lobster rolls at their Airport Business Park location.
Eleven photographers will exhibit “Picturing the Fair” online via the West Tisbury library throughout August. The photographers have shot the fair for years, and prior to the pandemic, had exhibited their retrospective photographs at galleries. Between August 20 and August 23, some of the photography will be on display at the Field Gallery in West Tisbury.
A community donor auction, meant to salvage Agricultural Society finances and preserve the 160th annual fair, will be held from August 17 to 23. Spearheaded by trustee Skip Bailey, the auction will feature, among other items, a 1947 Ford 2N tractor donated by Bailey.
“We’ve had an outpouring of support from the community, and auction items are coming in daily,” Agricultural Society executive director Kristina West said.
Visit the M.V. Agricultural Society’s website for more information, at marthasvineyardagriculturalsociety.org.