Excerpted from Bountiful: A History of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society and the Livestock Show and Fair, by Susan Klein, with photographs by Alan Brigish (Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, 2012).
This excerpt is taken from chapter 9 which tells the story of the midway and how it came to play an integral part of the annual Island tradition.
“My favorite was the Scrambler! It was really fun!”
There is something comforting in the connection between old-fashioned, farm-grown accomplishments, community pride and simple pleasures. It connects us to the land and to each other. The Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society's fourth annual Harvest Festival conjures vintage images of farm life and country fairs and invites Islanders to celebrate the Vineyard's rich agricultural tradition at the fairgrounds in West Tisbury Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the Columbus Day holiday.
The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society has a new barn. It took only two days for dozen Amish craftsmen, working alone, to raise it. The traditionally built barn makes a perfect sister to the agricultural society’s other barns, though in this case all the wood is new.
The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society has issued a call for applicants for its annual grant program. Eligible are all farm-related individuals or organizations whose goal is to improve the quality of life and contribute to the sustainability of the Vineyard agricultural community.
Fifteen years ago, the New Hampshire barn that had been dismantled, shipped and reassembled off Panhandle Road in West Tisbury was finished, and officially became the New Agricultural Society Hall. While a decade and a half of potlucks, dances, meetings and exhibitions have taken the new out of its name, the Ag Hall remains something to celebrate. Saturday’s Barnraisers’ Ball will do just that, with help from Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. The barn doors open at 7:30 p.m., and admission is a dessert to share.
The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society won four awards including the Best of Show honor at the 2009 Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs’ Association Media Awards competition held this month in Marlborough.
The fair’s poster, by the Vineyard Gazette’s Morgan Lucero, was awarded best of show.