The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair will return for its 159th year this August, reviving a revered Island summer institution after cancellation last year, Agricultural Society trustees announced Tuesday.
The fair will run from Thursday, August 19 through Sunday, August 22 and will be held entirely in person and live, the society’s board of trustees and executive director Lauren Lynch announced in a press release Tuesday.
“Responding to an overwhelming concern that the Island craves a sense of normal this summer, the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society will hold the 159th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair and Livestock Show,” the release said.
Canceled last summer due to the pandemic, the fair was replaced with virtual programming, including pre-taped events and an auction.
This year’s event will be held on the West Tisbury fairgrounds as usual, but fair attendance will be limited to 50 per cent occupancy for the Ag Hall property, according to the release. All events and activities will be held in a socially distanced manner and planned in accordance with the most up-to-date local and state Covid safety guidelines.
More specific details — from fan-favorite attractions to fairground configurations — will be completed in the coming months, the release said.
“While [last year’s] experiment was successful, the trustees believe that its stakeholders, constituents, and Island families want to see the fair back in some fashion,” the release said.
In the announcement, society trustees also noted that running the fair this season will constitute a financial risk for the organization. Historically, the fair has been a key fundraiser, supplying majority funding for educational and agricultural programming through ticket sales and donations each year.
“Safety requirements could change and require additional unforeseen investments,” the announcement said. “In making this decision, the trustees believe that the community will respond by supporting the fair and thereby, sharing the risk.”
Pre-paid tickets will be available ahead of the event, the release said. The agricultural society will also be recruiting volunteers and soliciting donations.
“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,” the release said. “We’ll see you at the fair!”