Campgrounds celebrate 175 years

The 175th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA) in Oak Bluffs took place last Sunday, July 25. The event began at 7 pm with a historical presentation of the grounds by Marge Hopkins, an historian who gives regular walking tours in Oak Bluffs Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

The presentation elucidated the rich history of the camp meetings, which began on August 24, 1835 and continued to grow through the 1850s (when they reached their climax with roughly 30,000 attendees) through today, when they remain in full swing. The festivities continued with music by Stefan Young, a staff pianist for MVCMA and a music professor at Rider College in New Jersey. The musician played classical works, many by Chopin, for about 40 minutes and was succeeded by cake and ice cream for approximately 350 guests.

“We hope to continue the festivities so that we can have a 275th Anniversary Celebration,” Craig Lowe says of the event, vice-president of the board of directors of the MVCMA. The Tabernacle regularly hosts both religious and secular events, which include worship services as well as musical concerts, family movies, and the ever-popular Community Sings on Wednesday evenings.

An additional celebration will take place for the Island’s August visitors on August 22, and will also be free of charge.