Cool Pool Parties benefit for YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard

One of the Cool Pool Parties is hosted by Peter Rosbeck Jr. and Caitlin Murphy at the Waterhaven Estate, overlooking Sengekontacket Pond. — Photo courtesy of YMCA of M.V.

With the dog days of summer upon us, those fortunate enough to have a pool on their property are enjoying the break from the heat that a backyard oasis provides. And, what more ideal spot for a summer cocktail party, than poolside? This weekend, a handful of homeowners will share that experience with the public, as they open up their homes — and patios — to a unique fundraising event to benefit the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard.

The Y’s Cool Pool Parties will offer folks the opportunity to choose from among seven locations, scattered around the Island, for an evening poolside party with drinks, food, and entertainment.

The concurrent parties will kick off in a tent behind the Y with a reception and fashion show on Saturday, July 23. Both professional models and some Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School students will show off the newest lines from British clothing brand Jack Wills. The local Jack Wills store in Edgartown, which opened last summer, was one of two (along with Nantucket) flagship US stores that launched the established English brand in this country. Music will be provided by Jack Wills’ DJ, Ricky Prime.

Spa water, fruit, and crudités will be served. From there, guests will choose from a list of seven parties to attend.

As well as including a variety of Island locations, many with exceptional views, each party will have its own theme, and some will feature special guests. Beetlebung Steel Band will help set the tone for a tropical night at the Edgartown pool and party barn of Virginia Mortara. Some of the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks will be on hand for a baseball and beer party in Lambert’s Cove hosted by Laura and David Ross. Guests at the Edgartown Harbor home of Ken Karakul and James Held will get to watch a polo match by South Beach lifeguards and participate in poolside games. The Menemsha Madness party, hosted by Julie Flanders and Sarah and Bob Nixon, will include entertainment by surprise guest comedians.

Not surprisingly, the theme at The Field Club party, hosted by car collector Patrick Ahearn and his wife Marsha will be Cool Classic Cars. On display will be antique, sports, and luxury cars. Horsing Around features derby games at the brand new Waterhaven Estate overlooking Sengekontacket Pond, and will be hosted by Peter Rosbeck Jr. and Caitlin Murphy. Over at the Farm Neck home of Linda and Tyler Dean, the theme, of course, will be golf. A wine tasting and snacks by Farm Neck will be followed by dancing and a surprise show.

The Cool Pool Parties event is one of two major fundraisers for the Y this year. The other, the Stars and Stripes Fest, which took place on Fourth of July weekend, featured a number of imported bands for a showcase at Nectar’s. The festival was well attended and the organizers hope to make it an annual event. Sarah Soushek, fundraising events coordinator, notes that the money raised by these two efforts will go towards programs and scholarships.

“Our membership dues don’t fully fund our programs,” Ms. Soushek says. “We try to keep our membership costs low so that it is an affordable option, and we offer scholarships for those who can’t afford a membership.”

Cool Pool Parties co-chairs Tina Miller, Suzanne Lanzone, and Julie Flanders modeled the idea, in part, on Island Affordable Housing Fund’s former fundraiser Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, where a number of parties were held simultaneously at various private homes. The Y has taken the idea of “pick your own party” and transferred it to a poolside theme, since as Ms. Miller says, “The whole reason the Y came about is that we needed a pool.”

For the past three years the Y’s major fundraiser has been a brunch with music. Dave Brubeck was the featured musician for the past two years, and the tickets sold for $350. The committee wanted to do something different and a little more affordable this year. According to Ms. Miller, “All of us felt that we wanted to have a more inclusive event that somehow represented the Y. We wanted it to be light and fun.” The parties span four towns, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, West Tisbury, and Chilmark. Says Ms. Miller, “The Island is so fragmented. We’re bringing everybody in. Not just one town.”

Cool Pool Parties, Saturday, July 23, 6:30 pm, meet at YMCA of M.V., Oak Bluffs. $200. 508-696-7171 ext. 104;