Memorial Day picnickers make a splash in Tisbury

Islanders and visitors enjoy the pastoral scene at Tisbury's annual Memorial Day picnic. — Photo by Janet Hefler

A forecast of thunderstorms, which never came, did little to dampen the turnout at the Memorial Day Picnic on the grounds of the Tisbury Water Works.

Several hundred people enjoyed the traditional gathering hosted and expertly run by Tisbury’s town picnic committee. “It was a good turnout for such an iffy day,” said Lorraine Wells, who co-chaired the picnic with former Tisbury selectman and grill-master-in-perpetuity Denys Wortman. “I think we were as busy as any year.”

And, for the first time she could remember, a group of four adults who took a rowboat ride around the Spring Building pond managed to make a splash. Despite a warning sign not to stand up in their boat, they did, and it capsized.

“I think they were embarrassed, because they all swam to shore as quick as they could, before anyone could jump in to help them,” Ms. Wells said.

The occasion also provided a first look inside the Tashmoo Spring Building, built as a pumping station at the head of Lake Tashmoo in 1887, and the restoration work in progress. Visitors were encouraged to write down suggestions for uses for the new space.

Picnickers of all ages wore the unmistakable stains that herald summer, from ice cream provided by the picnic committee, and watermelon, provided by Stop and Shop. Cronig’s donated hot dogs and rolls and Cash and Carry the use of a portable freezer. Seaside Celebrations provided a tent to keep the cooking crew covered.

A long line of children took rides on a pony provided by Ralph Packer and guided by Tisbury town accountant Suzanne Kennedy. Picnic committee member Sandra Kingston ran children’s games with donations from Toy Box.

“It was nice to have a teenage presence this year,” Ms. Wells said. Ten freshmen from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School pitched in to help as a community service project and the school’s sailing team assisted rowboaters.

Toe-tapping music by the Flying Elbows, provided with funds from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, inspired several picnickers to dance on the grassy hillside. Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel also crooned a few tunes.