The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair first started in 1859. It features numerous attractions, from horse and tractor pulls, to circus performers and carnival rides. Farm animals are displayed and judged and there is a giant exhibit hall full of crafts, art and vegetables. Bands play throughout the day and people test their luck at the games, hoping to win a teddy bear or giant stuffed Rasta banana. All these things are great fun, but then lets face it, the Hungry Native team was there for the food. Fair food, while potentially guilt inducing, is a great late summer indulgence.
For as long as we can remember, The West Tisbury Fireman’s Civic Association has had a burger booth at the fair. They serve burgers, hot dogs and other goodies, all for a good cause. Extra donations in the rubber boot get a ring of the bell in gratitude. It pays to get there early as they often have the longest line of any of the food concessions.
Nothing says county fair like food on a stick. This pickle from Cozy’s Last Stand was easily big enough to be shared between two people, is probably one of the more healthy stick-supported snacks out there and is refreshingly juicy and garlicky.
Shellfish shucking contests are usually a big deal here in New England and this is evident at the Ag Fair, where people compete in both amateur and professional categories for oysters and quahogs to see who can shuck a certain amount the fastest. The best part of it is that the final product is passed around to the spectators.
The great thing about fairs is that they give you an excuse to eat disgustingly awesome things that you wouldn’t normally eat, like Bill Smith’s deep-fried Snickers bar. Frozen, then battered and fried, they’re sweet, salty and oozing with melted caramel and nougat. You owe it to yourself to try one, perhaps bring a friend to share it with.
The Flatbread Company first started making wood-fired pizza in Amesbury, MA, in 1992. Flatbread is a chain, but they make a point out of using locally sourced ingredients at each of their locations. The Martha’s Vineyard location is in the same building as Nectar’s nightclub, but we were pleased to see their booth, complete with a real wood-fired clay pizza oven, at this years fair.
Local Smoke is a Martha’s Vineyard barbecue team that specializes in cooking whole pigs. Their pulled pork sandwich, served with a unique slaw that includes broccoli, is fast becoming a fair favorite. They also offer a chicken sandwich and a choice of sides made from fresh, local ingredients. They are available to cater events, and we know first-hand how great their whole-hog is.
One of the more popular events at the M.V. Ag Fair is the Women’s Skillet Throw. Women in four different age brackets compete to see who can throw a custom-made steel skillet the farthest down the field. This year, a handful of competitors even dressed up in vintage costumes, adding to the fun of this event. The skillet toss happens on Sunday, the last day of the fair, and usually draws a large and enthusiastic crowd.
and some books on other State and Agricultural Fairs
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