Get ready for skillet tossing, blue ribbons, and carnival games, because the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair is back.
Wanting to return to a sense of “normal,” the Ag Fair will hold its 159th fair and livestock show from August 19 to 22.
According to a press release from the Agricultural Society, the board discussed health and safety issues to meet local and state guidelines while allowing in-person attendance with limitations.
“Under state guidelines, the fair must maintain a 50 percent occupancy rate, although that could all change as of August 1,” Ag Society president Brian Athearn said in the release. “The logistical challenges will be daunting, but we are committed to putting on the best fair possible and welcoming families back to the fairgrounds without sacrificing any safety protocols.”
The beloved fair was canceled last year in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic — the first time it was canceled since World War II.
A significant portion of the Ag Society’s operational and educational costs come from hosting the fair. Last year the Ag Society held a virtual fair, which was a financial success. “While that experiment was successful, the trustees believe that its stakeholders, constituents, and Island families want to see the fair back in some fashion. As a result, the trustees have decided to move forward with a live fair, understanding that safety requirements could change and require additional unforeseen investments,” the release states.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 75 percent of Dukes County adults have at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and 49 percent are fully vaccinated. “In making this decision, the trustees believe that the community will respond by supporting the fair and thereby sharing the risk. Those wishing to support this decision can purchase prepaid tickets; volunteer at the fair; or make a donation directly to the society,” the release states. “Over the next month, details regarding the fair will be finalized, and we will be announcing ways for everyone to show their support and help the Ag Society make this one of the most successful fairs ever.”
Those interested in helping can contact executive director Lauren Lynch at email@example.com or visit the Ag Society website.