September has arrived bearing the gift of stillness. The air is growing crisper, and most islanders seem to welcome the change in the weather. After all, along with the cool breezes comes the chance to reconnect with friends after a full season of busyness. The ideal venue for this is Nantucket’s annual old-fashioned country fair, better known to locals as simply “the Island Fair.” This year, the Island Fair will take place on Saturday, September 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, September 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. out at the Tom Nevers Fairgrounds. Between friends, live local music, island fresh food, a goat handling show, and the highly anticipated giant pumpkin contest, what’s not to love? There’s a lot going on, and here are some highlights:
- On Saturday, the live musicians will include Jamie Howarth, 2/11 in Progress, Potential Hammock, and Beach Head. On Sunday, we will hear from some of Nantucket’s young performers under age 21, followed by Owen Lafarge, and then Howarth will take the stage again.
- Barnyard animals must be brought to the livestock tent by 10 a.m. on Saturday. Register your animals by 1:30 p.m. and get ready to earn a ribbon, awarded by Ray’s Barn Yard. Gertrude’s Farm Stand will be on hand to judge the many island-made edibles that are entered into the competition. Any vegetables that you’ve grown in your garden or homemade jams, jellies or preserves are fair game for Gertrude’s Farm Stand. All items should be brought to the community tent by noon on Saturday. Finally, the contest we’ve all been waiting for! Giant pumpkins must be brought to the information table by noon on Saturday. Weigh-off will be at noon on Sunday.
- Bring the kiddos over to the small tent to get their faces painted for just a dollar! Starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
- Feeling political? Massachusetts Senator Dan Wolf and Representative Tim Madden will be at the community tent for QA from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
- Dr. Sarah Oktay, Managing Director of the UMass Field Station and weekly contributor to Yesterday’s Island / Today’s Nantucket will give a presentation about water quality testing on the island. Don’t miss it from 1-2 p.m. on Saturday.
- Think you’ve got a good casting arm? Try your prowess against other island anglers at the games field from 1-2 p.m. on Sunday.
- Sunday also brings the pet shows in the livestock tent. From beagles to chinchillas, islander pets will put their best paws forward in order to win a ribbon! Starts at 2 p.m.
Several of the fair’s attractions will be taking place throughout the weekend, and you just have to be there at the right time in order to witness them. For example, islander Jeremy Norwood will be demonstrating the unique art form of chainsaw carvings using six-foot pine logs gathered from the Hummock Pond bike path construction site. Local falconer Mark Reindel will be walking around with his falcon, and Tristan Marks will be demonstrating whittling.
Admission is included in the $10-per-car parking fee. Note that the Island Fair always welcomes volunteers, and there are a variety of spots for all talents. At press time, still needed are parking attendants, face painters, judges, game supervisors, registration and information table assistants, and folks to help set up and/or break down. To register as a volunteer , visit the newly launched website, nantucketislandfair.com.