Celebrating its 157th year, the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair has been delighting Islanders and visitors alike for decades. Now I’ve only been going for a decade and half, but I can tell you I am hooked. Especially with children, it’s one of my favorite events of the year.
One thing I always look forward to is seeing what the fair’s poster looks like each year. It sets the tone for the fair, and after meeting with fair manager, Amy Coffey, I learned that it also determines the theme of the fair.
Last year, a poster featuring an adorable sheep was chosen. So, the theme was “See Ewe at the Fair” — a clever play on words for the ofter heard, “See you at the Fair”.
The poster really is the “anchor” of the fair. It’s interesting how you can also see where the world is by the fair — how the people look, the colors used. One thing you can tell with each poster, is that’s all about the fair. People love this fair. People grow up with these special four days and share it with their children and grandchildren and so on.
Amy and I went up to the second level of the Ag Hall, where you can find all sorts of fair posters, dating back decades. It was like a time machine. There have been some really amazing ones, and some ones that kinda leave you wondering. I am wondering about this year’s for sure!
Will it have a dog since it’s the year of the dog in the Chinese New Year? Will it be an iconic farm animal or ride? Will it have a hidden image of Martha’s Vineayrd? Will it be so awesome it ends up in my kitchen along side the other ones? We’ll have to wait and see.
Submissions are accepted from January 30th thru April 1st. Basically the sky is the limit. It can be any medium, materials, with the only caveat that it has to be able to fit in an 18 x 24 frame and be reproduced easily onto t-shirts, aprons, you know, cool fair swag. Age doesn’t even matter. In this contest, capturing the spirit of the fair rules.
Each year there are over 100+ entries. There is a small group made up of Ag Society trustees, volunteers, and artists, who decide what the winning poster design will be. I think it must be so interesting to see people’s interpretation of the fair through an artistic endeavor. Capturing the essence of such an iconic event is a true talent.
To submit your design, it’s even easier than ever. You can email it to Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org. If email is not for you or makes you nervous with something so important, you can still send it – MVAS, Post Office Box 73, West Tisbury, MA 02575.
As the new fair manager, you can only image how excited Amy is. She is so lovely and so full of energy, and feels so humble to be helping create such a wonderful event. Though the fair will be the fair, there are some exciting new things coming.
This year, Island Grown Initiative is a partner in helping create a zero waste event. This is a big task for sure. I am so happy to hear that this in the works. The amount of waste created over the four days of the fair is frightening. We just all try to not think about such things, when all you want to do is enjoy your West Tisbury Fireman’s burger.
In addition, there will be water stations for refilling water bottles, helping to eliminate plastic water bottles.
Something super cool that is coming to this year’s fair, is a new stage. Why is this exciting? Well, it’s the placement. It will be located in the middle, the center of the fair, near the racing pigs and before the fiber tent.
The plan is to showcase a lot more music. There are so many musical greats on this Island, and can’t you just see people dancing throughout the day to some great live music. I feel like this really fills a gap in space at the fair too.
See you at the fair!
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