In a spectacle described as incredible, amazing and historic, hundreds of Islanders turned out to hammer boards, paint window sills and raise the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society's new barn in a three-day event that was a festival of community spirit.

And while there's still work to do before the new barn will be ready for next summer's fair, that didn't stop the hundreds of volunteers who got it off the ground this weekend from having a first party there – complete with dancing, food and words of acknowledgement.

“Thanks a lot, folks,” said Glenn Hearn, the agricultural society fundraising chairman, on Sunday night. “I think everyone feels the same way. I am sure we will remember this for the rest of our lives; everybody from all corners of the Island...doing this for the kids coming after us.

“Martha's Vineyard is certainly a very special place. It has a lot of special people and a lot of special people are right inside of this barn right now.”

The 33-foot tall New Hampshire barn was brought this year to replace the society's hall, which has grown too small for the annual agricultural fair. Dismantled by Island volunteers last spring, the bran was reassembled this weekend by about 150 people on Friday and more than 250 on Saturday and Sunday each. By Saturday, Mr. Hearn said, volunteers were a whole day ahead of schedule, and planners had to scramble to get more materials ready for Sunday, when 3,000 square feet of the barn's wall were shingled. The sight of so many people working together was awe-inspiring, he said.

“At one time in the afternoon Sunday, there were all these people shingling and they were lined up along the barn, elbow to elbow, shingling,” he said. “There were kids that were seventh and eighth graders and there were grandfathers and grandmothers and everything in between. There were 110. I'll never forget it.”

Mr. Hearn's feelings were not unique among those at the fledgling new fair ground on Panhandle Road in West Tisbury.

“I'll never forget it myself,” said Vincent Maciel, a carpenter and resident of West Tisbury. “In another 50 years I can tell my own grandchildren that I helped build that.”

Michael J. Flynn, a chef at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, said he's never volunteered for a project quite like the barn-raising before. But the experience was worth the splinters, he said.

“This is my town, and I feel it's an important thing for a community to get together and put something like this together,” Mr. Flynn said. “When we're all gone, it'll still be here and knowing you were part of something like this makes me feel really good. It's just so self-satisfying that it'll be here for the next 300 years. It's really cool.”

Mr. Flynn's comments came after he and many others had finished work on Friday, raising the last nine bents in what many said was a remarkably short amount of time.

“We started at 7,” said Andrew Woodruff, on of the driving forces behind the barn project. “We took an hour for lunch and we were done by 3.”

Friday's bent-raising was so efficient that some of those who came to watch just missed it. Claire Thacher, whose husband Roger Becker was a volunteer, pulled up just as pictures were being taken at the end of the day, and said she wished she;d taken her two children out of school and come earlier.

“It would have been worth it, too,” she said, as her children, Margot and Louis, students at Edgartown School, explored the area. “It seems like this is really historic. This'll be here for years.”

Saturday was also productive, officials reported. Workers sheathed the entire building, finished painting all the windows and sashes and installed many of the windows. Mr. Hearn said. There were so many people sheathing, Mr. Hearn said, that it was almost impossible to hammer more than a few nails into each plank before it was secured, even though each board requires 32 nails.

“You could hardly pound three or four nails in and it was all nailed because there were so many people,” he said. “It was just amazing.”

Still, there were a variety of jobs to choose from.

“If you didn't like what was going on,” said Mr. Maciel, “you could walk around the building and find something else to do.”

On Sunday, workers shingled part of the barn's walls and installed more than half the trim. The day ended with a celebration that featured the Flying Elbows and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. Residents filled a table with pies, cakes and cookies, then made an impromptu table from sheets of plywood for sandwiches, coffee, cider and hot chocolate.

Several residents were reminded of the show of community support they saw in 1989, when the Island rallied to rebuild the Gannon and Benjamin boatyard on the Vineyard Haven waterfront. It was damaged by fire in October of that year and rebuilt the weekend before Thanksgiving.

“This is incredible,” Mr. Woodruff told the group.

“So thank you all, thank you, the trustees, for supporting this. Without their support none of this would have happened.”

And for those who may have missed out, there are still ways to help. Work will continue on the barn through winter, Mr. Hearn said. People who want to help may drop by the fair grounders to help with the remaining projects: more shingling, wiring, constructing the barns floor and more.

More information is available at 693-9549.