MVAS Olio: Dispatch Number Eight from the 2013 Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair

Welcome to “Dispatches from the Fair, Edition Number Eight”.

It’s an olio of a dispatch.

We’ll start with “A” for “Alien”.

IMG_6105There were other aliens at the Fair this year. Since aliens’ legs are often stiff, from all that riding around in UFOs, many of the aliens took over the brains of small children, and turned them into beasts of burden.


What is the lifespan of an inflatable alien?

What’s an “olio”?

You almost certainly know olio if you are a cruciverbalist, are one of those people fond of crossword puzzles, for you will have a specialized vocabulary cupboard in your brain. That cupboard will be especially full of words composed of the most common letters in the English language. In descending order of frequency, those letters are ETAION SHRDLU. Words heavy on these letters are much easier for the crossword constructor to manipulate into their arrays of “across” and “down”. Olio is an etaoinshrdlu-y word.

An olio is a mixture, a melange, often of literary or artistic nature. Olio comes from “olla”, which means “pot”.

Moving along in the alphabet, “C” is for “chicken”.

Over by the stock barns was one of the Vineyard’s “most fanciful ever” chicken houses.


On the first day of the Fair, I was standing by this creation, admiring it, marveling at how many people were saying, “Wow, look at that chicken!” (thinking it was real). One lad came up, and I remarked that it was too bad it had no beak. He looked at the ground, and a second later, said, “What’s that?”, and picked up a small orange object. Which was the bird’s missing plastic beak. We replaced the rooster’s “useter”, and for all we know, that beak is there still.

Over in the stock barn were newborn piglets, born at the Fair.


Newborn blue-ribbon piglets.

In the Main hall was another batch of blue-ribbon piglets.


These piglets must have suckled at the fountain of youth.
They will never grow old.
They will never be bacon.

Near the sheep pen by the fabric tent was Andy’s pickup truck.

Andy’s truck has a well-chosen vanity plate.


We’re lucky to have such an able, knowledgeable shearer come to the Fair. There’s something you know if you saw one of his demonstrations.  Which is that Andy is more than a “shearer”. He’s a New England treasure.

At an opening of the edge-curtain of the fabric tent, are arrays of braids of the Tripp’s wool.


Over at Marsha Wynsryg’s African crafts booth, the Tripp wool colors are echoed.

Marsha’s work for Africa is individual, direct, and low-overhead. To learn more about her Africa project, go to:


At Marsha’s crafts table we can see the colors of Africa’s finest boxer shorts.

Here is a mystery fabric item.

What is it?


Please identify what this is, and where it was, at the Fair.

In the Main Hall, Children’s Department, was a very creative vase.


Lego vase.

“Z” time!

At the other end of the Main Hall was Barney Zeitz’s vase.


Since not everyone noticed the incredible artistry of the legs, here is a side view, from which they’re more visible.

On the mantel of the fireplace in the “Small” Hall were some fine dahlias.


The background of this photo, with ceiling above, is a Cubist’s delight.

Below the dahlias gleam the hammered-copper scales of the Grim Reaper.


Over time, the Grim Reaper’s shiny copper will patinate to browns and greens.

On a brilliant sunny summer day, outside photos can be tough to take, as the light is so intense.

But sometimes, even on such a day, chance will hand you an opportunity.


What is the Fair but an olio of smiles?

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